A joint venture between a Vietnamese company and five Japanese partners in the central province of Phu Yen is expected to facilitate development of the local tuna fishing industry and a brand name for Phu Yen ocean tuna.

The 2 million USD firm will be established by the province-based Vinh Sam Company Ptc and five Japanese companies, with the latter contributing 1.2 million USD. It will house a fish freezing vessel that can preserve fish at minus 60 degrees Celsius, and a 30-tonne transport boat.

The Japanese firms will transfer technology to Vietnamese companies for tuna processing.

Importantly, they will help local companies develop a brand name for the tuna products.

The joint venture will also buy an expected 2,000-3,000 tonnes of tuna each year at 12-20 USD per kilogramme, depending on quality.

Le Van Truc, Vice Chairman of the Phu Yen People's Committee, said his agency is working with the Ministries of Planning and Investment and Agriculture and Rural Development to ensure this JV can start operations by year-end.

Ocean tuna is one of the Phu Yen's most important products.

Since Phu Yen is the leading locality in Vietnam in ocean tuna fishing, processing, and exports, it is essential for local enterprises to build a brand name for the tuna, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

Phu Yen has paid much attention to promoting tuna products, and it needs to take part in international forums and exhibitions to promote them globally, the association said.

Under the National Brand Name Program 2011, the Ministry of Industry and Trade plans to support Phu Yen in developing a tuna brand name, according to the ministry's Trade Promotion Agency

So far this year, the tuna catch landings of the province reached more than 5.61 million tonnes, an year on year increase of 13.8 percent.

However, with offshore fishing costs accounting for up to 70 percent of revenues, most of the fishing boats specialising in ocean tuna barely break even.

One of the main reasons is that Phu Yen companies' tuna-processing technologies are poor and lower quality.

As a result, only 30 percent of the province's catch is good enough for export to European, American, and Northeast Asian markets where prices are the highest./.