BY PAUL OATES
MANAGING DIRECTOR of the National Fisheries Authority, Syvester Pokajam, has said there will be four new tuna canneries and processing plants opened soon in PNG. This will significantly increase local employment and production.
Mr Pokajam highlighted that PNG will soon overtake the Philippines in tuna production and become second only to Thailand.
In his presentation to a European conference in Brussels, Mr Pokajam indicated PNG was currently undertaking a number of projects to ensure it will be able to manage the sustainable harvesting of tuna stocks.
While this is good news, it does beg the question of what evidence was brought to the table before the decision was made to go ahead with the new processing plants.
While PNG will benefit from increased employment opportunities, there have been media reports that overseas workers are being employed in this industry.
In addition, while PNG will earn valuable foreign exchange from the export of canned tuna, if future studies indicate a decreasing resource, will a future government be able and prepared to restrict or halt production?
Hopefully, future PNG populations will continue to enjoy what is currently available.
The Philippines is well known for having effectively stripped many of its marine resources beyond the point of no return. We hope this will not be allowed to happen in PNG.