Operadora Pesquera del Oriente
The project consists of providing working capital financing for the company and affiliates. Operadora Pesquera del Oriente is a tuna fish farming company that exports most of its production to Japan. The purpose of the tuna fish farming operation is to create fish more suited to Japanese taste. The company has an affiliate in Mexico that processes, packs, and ships the fish.
Environmental Classification and Issues:
Classification: This is a category III project according to the IIC’s environmental and labor review procedure because it could produce certain effects that may be avoided or mitigated by following generally recognized performance standards, guidelines, and design criteria. Environmental and labor considerations related to the project include permitting, solid waste and liquid effluent management, product hygiene and quality control, occupational safety and health, and labor practices.
Permitting: The project’s tuna farms are located in the Todos Santos Bay, Ensenada, in the State of Baja California, Mexico. The tuna processing plant is in the FONDEPORT Industrial Park in Sauzal de Rodríguez, Ensenada. The environmental impact study for the project was prepared in compliance with Mexican environmental regulations and has been approved by the Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT). An outside consultant specialized in marine biology and ecology is in charge of the Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for the project, as well as for supervising compliance with the plan and submitting regular compliance reports to SEMARNAT. In July 2007 the borrower obtained renewal of the SEMARNAT environmental permits for the project, for a term of five years. To renew the licenses the company successfully underwent an environmental audit carried out in accordance with environmental regulations by the Procuraduría Federal de Protección al Ambiente (PROFEPA).
The project complies with Mexican local and federal fishing and marine resource protection regulations. The borrower holds valid ten-year concessions from the Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación (SAGARPA-CONAPESCA) for its bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus orientalis) farming and grow-out operations.
Solid Waste: The processing plant generates both hazardous and non-hazardous waste, which is treated separately. Non-hazardous domestic waste is collected by municipal authorities or by a company authorized by SEMARNAT. Hazardous waste (tuna viscera) is sent to areas specially designed to prevent leaks and spills, where it is collected by operators authorized by SEMARNAT for treatment and final disposal.
Liquid Effluent Management: The process carried out at the plant after the fish are eviscerated is simple. Most of the water used is for washing the fish; this process does not generate wastewater with a high organic load because the fish is already quite clean. This water is discharged into the industrial park drain system.
Product Hygiene and Quality Control: The borrower has established management and control procedures in the areas of water supply quality and safety, plant and services cleanliness and hygiene, cross-contamination control, product handling and labeling, employee health, and pest control. No chemicals are used in the tuna grow-out and processing operations because the tuna must meet strict quality control requirements for exporting to Japan.
Occupational Safety and Hygiene: There is an industrial safety and hygiene committee that has its own internal regulations. The regulations also establish basic standards for accident prevention, equipment use, and personal protection equipment. The processing plant has safety signs and a system of fire extinguishers.
Labor Practices: The borrower is in compliance with domestic labor laws and International Labour Organization (ILO) standards. Mandatory core labor standards include social security benefits, freedom of association, organization of workers’ unions, prohibition of forced labor and exploitative and abusive child labor, and nondiscrimination in the workplace.
Monitoring and Reporting
The borrower shall continue to implement its Environmental Management Plan (EMP) to ensure compliance with domestic regulations and the IIC's environmental and workplace safety and health guidelines. The EMP shall provide for a yearly report on permit validity, solid waste and liquid effluent management, product hygiene and quality control, occupational safety and health, labor practices, and accident reporting.