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Tuna industry must not strip PNG resources

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.

Comments

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Francis Hualupmomi

Good commentary. However, in my view, we should commend the industry to have proposed such a development in PNG's economic modernisation agenda.

Over the years PNG marine industry has been overexploited by external forces. This is the right time for PNG to seize the opportunity to economise its resources to spur growth.

It is better to develop something and learn from mistakes. Unless this is done we will continue to remain in stagnation.

Alex Harris

Mmmm. Perhaps within a salty brine of nickel cobalt de la mer, harnessed fresh from Astrolabe Bay?

Just kidding.

Phil Fitzpatrick

The canned tuna they sell in the trade stores in PNG comes from overseas. The quality is on a par with cat food.

It comprises the dark brown flesh of the fish that even the addition of tomato sauce and other ingredients can't hide. Tastes horrible.

Maybe this new development will mean they can sell decent fish to their own people in PNG.

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