THE FIA MSC PURSUIT
The pursuit for MSC certification was originally contemplated and driven by the PNG based fishing industries prior to PNA developing the regional model.
Due to misunderstandings and misinformation within Government and policy makers and management, the PNG MSC pursuit had a delayed progression over time till 2018.
RATIONALE FOR PNG MSC CERTIFICATION
It is well known that the cost of doing business in PNG is high compared to competitors in the Philippines, Thailand and Ecuador. The freight costs, water, power and telecommunication services are twice as much as those in our main competitors. This makes PNG products uncompetitive to the rest of the world.
This is compounded by lack of economies of scale, law and order issues, lack of basic infrastructures, high turnover rates of labour, land issues and bureaucratic red tapes.
The cost of VDS has also increased for the PNG based tuna processing companies and their fishing fleets. Under the new tendering of the VDS, locally based tuna fishing companies bid for EEZ days at the same (PNA benchmark at USD10,500 per day) as the Distant Water Fishing Nations (DWFNs) who did not have any long-termed investment commitments in PNG.
MSC certified tuna products attracts a premium price. The PNG FIA pursuit provides this opportunity to make up for the above shortfall that is prevalent for PNG industry.
NATIONAL CONSIDERATIONS/ IMPLICATIONS
The PNG FIA pursuit is also only fulfilling the NFA and sector’s export driven strategy. The joint fisheries trade lobby committee through the NFA Board had recommended as part of the fisheries trade pursuit to immediately work and implement a national MSC accreditation for PNG.
The PNG MSC scheme should also be seen as policy initiative that will create an incentive for the PNG based tuna processors and their fishing fleets and an alternative revenue scheme for the State through the National Fisheries Authority. It’s a win-win initiative for PNG.
The PNG FIA MSC is developed as an alternative revenue scheme for the National Fisheries Authority. Noting the lessons learnt from the PNA Pacifical model, the PNG FIA MSC scheme would subscribe and develop an appropriate distribution arrangement.
Impact on national Resource Management regime-PNG national fisheries management would only be improved and enhanced through vigorous compliance and enforcement by fishing operations in their drive to demonstrate meeting the certification requirements and standards.
Where the MSC assessment identifies weakness, Fisheries Improvement Projects (FIPs) will be undertaken to improve and enhance the management measures and practice of industry. PNG tuna fisheries working through MSC certifications enables this opportunity to differentiate ourselves by installing best practice in fleets and show that we are working towards resource sustainability and industry consciousness.
Cost Implications- PNG based industry are meeting the full cost of the whole assessment and certification process.