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FIA PNG looking after Healthy Marine Ecosystems -Marine Litter & Fishing Gear Procedure & Audit tool

The Marine litter or debris and fishing gear loss have been commonly much less well understood and studied in the Tuna Purse Seiner Industry than other off shore and coastal operations – but at the Fishing Industry Association of Papua New Guinea (FIA PNG) we’ve been working hard to develop new requirements to safeguard Marine Ecosystems, the Ocean health, and we’ve been positively impressed to see a growing interest in this topic.

By Marcelo Hidalgo, Sustainability Director of FIA PNG

When I first joined the FIA PNG as a fishery consultant back in 2016 to prepare the domestic tuna fleet to achieve the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) fishery certification, I had just started to embark on a project that will create a positive impact for the industry, the country and the people that depends on the tuna fishery.

Later in 2017, together with the new Chairman and President, Sylvester Pokajam, we assessed how to identify global problems and market requirements that needed to be addressed by the tuna industry and how we should define these issues and develop a Responsible Sourcing Policy (RSP) that includes Marine litter & Fishing Gear mitigation procedure and audit tool. Since then we’ve been very busy – a technical development-working group has been formed, and terms of reference for the project have been produced, along with a Gap Analysis carried out in 2019, all of which were shared with the industry and also with the National Fishery Authority (NFA). Now is an excellent time to update you all on our Marine litter & Fishing Gear mitigation procedure and audit tool, following a productive meeting of the External technical working group on February 2021.

I would like to describe the FIA PNG documentation process and peer review that intend to ensure robust requirements for the tuna fishing companies. This process includes several working groups and a peer review process.

The technical development-working group (TDG) is made up of FIA PNG officers from a diverse range of backgrounds – policy, academics, sustainability and tuna operations. They are responsible of creating policy, procedure and audit tool to be implemented by the FIA PNG fleet members.

Donald Papaol – Executive Officer/MSC Coordinator, FIA

Clare Tutuana – MSC officer, FIA

Marcelo Hidalgo – Director of Sustainability, FIA

The technical working group (TWG) is made up of representatives from the FIA PNG organizations, working at Sea, at the Port, at the tuna processing, Fishing Surveillance, fishing catches report, monitoring and compliance. They are responsible of assessing, and providing feedback on what the TDG members creates (policy, procedures and audit tool) for the FIA fishing fleet.

Audjamanee Kanjahasuwan – Majestic Seafoods

Marites De la Cruz – Majestic Seafoods

Noemi Sumarana – RD fishing

Ralph Ronald J – RD fishing

Armie Gastardo - Frabelle fishing

Glenn Mesias – Frabelle fishing

Jhun Pagalan – Trans Pacific Journey Fishing Corporation TPJ

Harry Chang – South Seas Tuna Corporation, and Nambawan

The external technical working group (e-TWG) is made up of representatives from a diverse range of organizations and backgrounds – non-governmental organizations (NGOs), industry representatives are among the group members (see below). The e-TWG is an advisory body only and has no decision-making authority. They carry out a peer review process looking at the technical content, consistency and applicability of the FIA PNG policy, procedures, and audit tool.

Jocelyn Drugan – OceanOutcomes

Perry Broderick – OceanOutcomes

Jon Lansley – Fishery Division, Fisheries officer, FAO

Mariana Mata – Geonardo / AQUALIT

Pauline Leroux – Manager of the Responsible Offer, Auchan

Severine Le Gall – Quality Development Engineer, Auchan

Claudine Micbalek – CEO, Acquaterra

Gala Moreno – Scientific, International Seafood Sustainability Initiative (ISSF)

Hilario Murua – Scientific, International Seafood Sustainability Initiative (ISSF)

Forming this several layer groups were a key early step in the setting up Marine litter and Fishing Gear requirements, and its importance can’t be overstated – we use multi-stakeholder collaboration like this to develop and review all four pillars of the FIA PNG RSP, and it’s what ensures our policies and procedures takes into account all perspectives and intend to include on all the knowledge in the industry and beyond.


Covid19 times for this challenge

The current pandemic circumstances did not stop us to make progress on our RSP, we’ve been meeting on regular calls the three TWGs to update on progress, decision points and other business.

FIA PNG officers and members are very happy with this process and group of passionate experts we have assembled. Their contribution, commitment, and knowledge are priceless.

The FIA PNG RSP pillar of marine litter and Fishing gear do already include a number of requirements, which contribute towards reduction, and mitigation of marine debris and garbage including in MARPOL, waste management on-board FAD tracking, monitoring and reporting; and FADs management plan. But we never remain stagnant at the FIA PNG, and the purpose of this RSP pillar is to include and reflect the latest guidance, regulations, global requirements and tackle Marine litter and Fishing gear with more specific and targeted requirements.

Complexity on the RSP pillar and the fishery

Reflecting the latest market sourcing polices and requirements, government regulations and scientific thinking, to put together on a document is not an easy job.

So fishery regulations are where we have started, we also collected market requirements, new policies and best practices applicable to our fishery in Papua New Guinea.

What sort of issues will we want to include and address? Well, FIA PNG members have already been addressing some of the issues, and we have also included the following:

When our FIA PNG RSP Marine litter and Fishing gear procedure will soon become available on line, you will get the full details of references and our step-by-step approach.

A holistic approach procedure

Developing new robust and holistic procedures is not done in a rush at FIA PNG – this is because we aim to be comprehensive and collaborative. We have already completed our round of documentation review to get feedback on how we are moving ahead with this procedure. Now we are putting together the final draft that will be a blueprint requiring FIA PNG tuna fleet to sign off individually, once we have drafted and signed off, we will post it here on our website. This will allow other stakeholder groups or individuals to also give their feedback on the proposed FIA PNG Marine litter and Fishing gear requirement. As you can imagine we expect that other stakeholders will provide feedback on our public document.

Finally it is important to mention here that this is a living document and will undergo regular review and revision on an annual basis as and when the need arises.

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