TAHITI, Oct 6, 2021, RNZ. The Chinese company Tahiti Nui Ocean Foods is adamant work on its planned fish farm on French Polynesia’s Hao atoll will go ahead. The project to build the South Pacific’s largest fish farm has been dogged by repeated delays since its inception seven years ago, Radio New Zealand reported.
During a visit to French Polynesia in July, President Emmanuel Macron dismissed the project as grotesque and described the investors as dubious.
However, in an interview with La Depeche de Tahiti, the head of Tahiti Nui Ocean Foods Wang Chen said the company plans to use its three construction permits before they expire in 2022.
Initially forecast to cost $US1.5 billion and employing 10,000 people, the project has been downgraded to $US320 million to still produce 5,000 tonnes of grouper and wrass a year from cages placed in the lagoon.
Shanghai-based Wang said he was astonished at Macron’s remarks because his company always complied with the regulations, and he was convinced the economic cooperation relations between France and China were good, free and open.
Asked if the project had a geopolitical dimension, he said it was a cooperation project which must be placed within the framework of the economic relations of French Polynesia, France and China.
Wang Chen added that in 2029, French direct investments in China were three times larger than Chinese investments in France.
He said despite the difficulties, his company intended to launch all aspects of the project according to the terms of the permits.
Once operational, Wang hopes to raise production ten-fold.
The French Polynesian government agreed to exempt Tahiti Nui Ocean Foods from any tax for 30 years on the importation of materials and fuel.
It agreed to several other tax holidays for a period of ten years after the project has been completed.