Santong Plant: Before & After
February 22, 2018 marked the official Commissioning Ceremony for our first Fishery Community Center in Santong, Sumbawa, Indonesia, after two years of building and even more years of planning. More outbuildings are planned for the coming months to establish education and microfinance centers and support services, but the processing plant is up and running, currently handling around 2 MT of fish per day. Our goal is to reach its full 10 MT production capacity by year’s end. The Commissioning Ceremony was covered in various news outlets (including Undercurrent and SeafoodSource), but below we wanted to bring you on a special photo journey to share some highlights from the day and to show just how far we’ve come in our efforts over the past couple years.
Before: The new plant is located just east of Bali in the village of Teluk Santong, on the island of Sumbawa in West Nusa Tenggara Province. In 2016, the site of the plant was simply a stretch of dirt, grass, and a few goats.
After: Now the plant is built and fully operational, bringing modern infrastructure and technology directly to the area.
After: The entrance received a fresh coat of paint and a new gate, as well as BSI’s welcome banner.
After: BSI has refurbished various outbuildings to include worker’s housing and a canteen (pictured further below). BSI also plans on building centers for education and microfinance.
After: The employee canteen was one of the first priorities for renovation; now, a local woman who originally set up shop to sell coffee on the plant’s site is a main fixture of the shop.
Before: Another new feature on the landscape was inspired by a traditional sight in Sumbawa. Throughout the island (and across Indonesia), raised shelters can be found in the rice paddies, providing a resting spot for workers looking to get out of the sun or rain.
After: The community asked for such a resting platform to be built on the property, and BSI made it happen!
As you can see, the site has undergone quite a makeover in the past two years. We were proud to share the results and our vision with all of our guests during the ceremony, which proved to be an eventful day.
Commissioning Day started with a tour of the new plant for guests. The tour groups got to explore our state-of-the-art processing rooms, where the fish are headed and gutted. BSI uses all parts of the fish to reduce waste; heads can be sold in local markets and entrails and bones are used to make fishmeal.
Fish comes in through two receiving entrances, one for pelagic species (like mahi mahi and swordfish) and another for demersal species (like grouper and snapper). BSI’s village-level aggregators collect the catch from local fishers around Sumbawa and bring it to the plant for processing.
BSI not only offers cold storage facilities in the plant but will also revive an old ice plant to provide fishermen ice to use in their boats on the water. This resource helps to cut down on the current practice of fishers creating homemade ice in plastic bags, which are often discarded into the ocean after use.
Speeches began after the plant tour and lunch, with everyone assembled under the tents to hear remarks from the local imam, various Indonesian government officials, and BSI founder and president Jerry Knecht.
In keeping with local Muslim culture, an imam opened the ceremony with a blessing and Quran reading. Next, Jerry welcomed everyone and spoke to the importance of the plant, not only for BSI but for the entire community in Sumbawa.
One of the last to speak was Mr. Rosyadi Sayuti, Secretary General of Nusa Tenggara Barat Province, who stated that the creation and operation of the plant was a “win/win for the local community and Bali Seafood.”
After the speeches, Jerry and BSI’s CFO Alex Knecht lined up along with Mr. Sayuti, the other government officials, and the plant’s office staff (adorned in traditional dress) in preparation for the ceremonial ribbon cutting.
Even the plant itself “dressed up” for the celebration, with a boost from the beautiful congratulatory signs created by local businesses (close up shown below).
The plant wouldn’t have been possible without the help of all our staff, collaborators, and investors over the past few years. It was truly a community effort. Though this day marked only the beginning of our full vision, we were humbled and grateful to be able to share it with everyone in attendance.