Mazatlan marine vessels of the “Tuna Dolores” brand rescue New Zealand castaways in the Pacific Ocean.


· 3 people from New Zealand were rescued after sinking of sailboat

· There were no reports of injuries and they will arrive in Mazatlan in a week

Mazatlan, Sinaloa. It was 1:10 am when the Azteca 5 ship received the call from the American Coast Guard from Honolulu announcing that a sailboat bound for Los Angeles had sent an emergency signal, due to It had split in half and was beginning to sink, leaving the 3 passengers in the middle of the ocean in a life raft. It was about 3 New Zealanders who were heading to a sailing competition without thinking they would not reach their destination.

The vessel, belonging to the Pinsa Group, owner of the well-known brand “Tuna Dolores” responded to the emergency call, having to stop fishing because it was a long journey to get to where the shipwrecked were. After 13 hours of travel, using its helicopter and boats to speed up the search, the Azteca 5 marine vessel found the 3 people located east of Hawaii, 1,700 miles from the nearest coast.

The crews of the boat took the shipwrecked on board and thanks to the equipment they have onboard they were able to offer first aid, and do a medical check-up, reporting them in good health after having spent long hours in a raft in the middle of nowhere. The shipwrecked sailors will be transferred to the Azteca 10 vessel, another of the vessels of the same company, who will take them to the port of Mazatlan during the following week, where they will be able to complete the corresponding procedures to return to their country.

The billionaire behind Tuna Dolores

After being liquidated from a shrimp packing plant, José Eduvigildo Carranza founded Grupo Pinsa, a company that originally manufactured fishmeal in a small plant in this city. But he soon saw that the business was in fishing and canning tuna.

Today it is the most important tuna packing company in the country. It has a 54% market share and contributes 10% to exports of canned and frozen tuna products made by the country. It also exports to five countries in Europe a high quality product such as tuna loin.

In the last two years, the company has invested just over 1,000 million pesos (mp) to build two new plants and a shipyard.

In 2014, a plant with a value of 230 mdp was inaugurated to process tuna loin also in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, and before the end of the year a new sardine processor will have opened, which required an amount of 30 million dollars (mdd); will be in the port of Guaymas, Sonora, will have its own fleet of 15 ships, and will allow Grupo Pinsa to establish itself as the largest sardine producer in the country.

It also has under construction, with an investment of 21 million dollars, a shipyard in front of its canning plant in Mazatlan. It will start operations before the end of this year and among its functions will be to maintain its fleet of 20 tuna boats and provide service to third parties.

The company is currently sending repairs to Central America, to Panama, which increases costs and consumes time, says Rubén Velázquez, general director of the Pinsa Comercial division.

Grupo Pinsa is 100% Mexican and generates more than 4,600 jobs; Its main distribution channels are wholesalers and retailers ( retail ), which distribute 50-50 sales. In the wholesale channel, the company is the undisputed leader, with a share of 80%.

Born of a conflict

In 1980 the Mexican authorities denounced that US ships were fishing for tuna in national waters. The conflict intensified when the Mexican Navy stopped six vessels of that country that fished within the limit of 200 national nautical miles; the answer was the blockade in the United States of imports of Mexican tuna.

From that moment, tuna production in Mexico went into crisis, because the main market for fishermen was the United States. The problem became more acute because the main tuna processors were American and at the national level the consumption of tuna was quite low.

At that time, José Eduvigildo Carranza, founder and CEO of Grupo Pinsa, worked as a general accountant for a shrimp packing plant of US origin located in the port of Topolobampo; There he worked for four years.

But in 1981, President José López Portillo signed a decree that granted fishermen’s cooperatives the assets of the shrimp farms, with which some 200 companies had to lay off their employees. Among them were Carranza and his close friend Berdegué, who proposed him to start his own business.

“With our liquidation, we set up a plant to produce fishmeal, which we developed with the leftovers from the sardine packers, and then sell it to the pet food factories,” says the CEO of Grupo Pinsa, who was educated in a military school.

But its main objective was to produce canned tuna, and despite the US embargo, the two incipient businessmen decided to start investing in the construction of a tuna processing plant.

“We found that there was no infrastructure to process the tuna, and in the same plant where we produced fishmeal we had to enable an area so that each process had its own space,” says Carranza.

As part of the acquisition program of shrimp assets of the federal government, which were handed over to the fishing cooperatives, a program of support and credits focused on boosting the productivity of civil organizations was implemented.

Banpesca was the institution in charge of channeling these credits to the cooperative members and in 1984 granted a loan to Carranza.

With the adaptation of the plant to fry tuna and two vessels acquired from the Visa Group, from businessman Eugenio Garza Lagüera, Grupo Pinsa began working on three production lines that processed between 10 and 15 tons of tuna meat per year.

“In the beginning, we bought the tuna from a US company established in Ensenada, because having no own boats there was no other way to obtain the meat,” he says.

In the dawn they had to overcome several challenges; The lack of a developed fishing industry added to the deficit of an experienced labor force. “There was no qualified labor for production, we did not know how to unload the tuna from the boats, we needed a lot of things, we had to bring people from the port of San Diego and Ensenada to help us supply the labor that It did not exist in Mazatlan, people who knew how to operate machinery, equipment, chemists and specialized engineers to operate our plant, “says the CEO.

Among his relatives, Carranza is known as Leovi. He is originally from Guadalajara, but since he was a child he arrived in Mazatlan, as his father used to sell vegetables that he had taken from Mazatlán to the capital city of Guadalajara and Mexico City. The businessman, with his personality and tough gestures, but a modest dress, recognizes that he does not come from a family of fishermen.

He had to work from a very young age, since his father’s income did not pay for family expenses; his astuteness and discipline won him over with his teachers, who got him work at his 17 years in a shrimp packing plant, to take care of the costs, warehouses and shipments.

“I liked to interfere in all areas of the plant; the same was in the packing lines as in the boats, I was interested in learning how the outboard motors worked, the canoes, how they maneuvered the nets, I wanted to know everything related to the industry, not just to be in the office, “he recalls. .

Since he started working, he was always the first to arrive. “By six o’clock in the morning I was already at my desk, and by the time I left, I was the last to leave the office,” he says.

Past maquiladora

In the beginning, Pinsa was manufacturing products for the Pescador , Cosecha del Mar and Economy brands , as it did not have its own seal. It was not until 1986 that he began to operate his own Mazatún and El Dorado brands .

Carranza, a baseball fan and unconditional supporter of the Mazatlan deer, started playing the sport from a very young age: “my position was first base due to my short stature”. And although he was not very good at bat, in business he became an excellent player: in October 1991 he hit a hit when he bought the tuna Dolores brand from the government .

The government had launched three tenders to award Dolores to a private one, and the three times were deserted. “It was then that the former Fisheries Secretary, Guillermo Jiménez Morales, who had supported me on several occasions to discuss issues in the fishing sector, sought me out, so that it was me who would keep the brand,” recalls Carranza.

During the time in which the government administered the Dolores brand, it granted concessions for different producers to use the seal in exchange for delivering a quota of canned tuna to the government for marketing. With the acquisition of the brand by Grupo Pinsa, the company had to deal with piracy, as small producers labeled their canned goods with the Dolores brand.


The tuna embargo imposed by the United States alleged that Mexican fishermen violated the Dolphin Safe standard, which protects that species during tuna fishing. This event bankrupted national and foreign companies and fishermen that operated in the country, and that practically lived on exports to the American Union.

In those years, the consumption of tuna in Mexico was barely 24,000 tons per year, since there was no culture of consumption. This was something Pinsa Group had to deal with at the beginning, given that besides not having the infrastructure and the adequate workforce for the industry, it had a very small market to which it had to transform its eating habits.

“In those years the Mexican population consumed more sardine, because it was a cheap product, tuna was considered a different food that was only consumed in sandwiches,” says the founder of Pinsa. In 1981, Bertha Maldonado, wife of then fishing secretary Fernando Rafful, worked for an advertising agency, where she devised the campaign that completely changed the culture of tuna consumption in Mexico.

From the tune “Chun Ta chun Ta chun let’s eat tuna” began the rise of the industry and the consumption of tuna among Mexicans, which today is 170,000 tons per year.

Currently, the production of tuna in Mexico exceeds 165,000 tons per year, in addition to which its profits are equivalent to just over 2,200 million pesos. Sinaloa is the main national producer, participating with 57% of the total production, followed by the states of Chiapas, Colima and Baja California, according to Sagarpa.

Grupo Pinsa currently participates with 54% of the annual production of tuna in Mexico, and its production capacity is 400 tons of canned and 50 tons of frozen daily, in addition to selling 96% of its production in Mexico.

Its main competitors are Mar Industrias with its brand Tuny and Herdez; both brands divide the rest of the market.

José Eduvigildo Carranza considers that he has not reached any goal and that Pinsa Group must continue to improve, that it must modernize and continue its expansion because it does not conceive another way to remain in the market.

This man, who founded one of the most emblematic Mexican companies in recent years, mentions that he has never made one of those long trips of 65 days to go to catch tuna; He adds that his maximum teaching has been to surround himself with the most qualified people to carry out each of the tasks he has required within the company. “I can be a fool, but not so stupid, I have the ability to have people well prepared in the company,” he says

Source: Sel, forbes

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