18 Feb 2010

Vanuatu residents doubt worth of environment report on tuna cannery

8:47 pm on 18 February 2010

The Residents Against Processing Tuna, or RAPT, group in Vanuatu's capital Port Vila says there are questions over the robustness of the Environment Impact Assessment of the Blacksands Tuna Processing Plant.

Although the EIA is yet to be completed, the plant is nearly operational and civil society groups claim there is a conflict of interest over the role in this assessment of the main two parties behind the project, the Vanuatu Government and China.

While the Supreme Court had ordered that an independent party carry out the EIA, government-recruited consultants are conducting the assessment with funding from China.

The residents' group's Michael Taurakoto says they have little confidence that environmental concerns will be addressed.

"We had concerns because there was no clear detail on how the fish would be brought into the port because there's no wharf that's right next to this plan; we're concerned about how the fish would be transported between where ever it was going to be offloaded and the plant; what was going to be happening to the waste; exact conditions that people working in the plant would have."

Michael Taurakoto