The PNG Fishing Industry Association and National Fisheries Authority’s biggest achievement in 2020 was being able to secure its spot under the Marine Steward Council.
PNG FIA chairman Sylvester Pokajam said the pursuit for MSC certification was originally contemplated and driven by the PNG based fishing industries prior to PNA developing the regional model.
Mr Pokajam said that due to misunderstandings and misinformation within the government and policy makers and management, the PNG MSC pursuit had a delayed progression over time till 2018.
He said 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 of PNG’s main competitors.
“This makes PNG products uncompetitive to the rest of the world.
This is compounded by lack of economies of scale, lawlessness and lack of basic infrastructures, high turnover rates of labour, land issues and bureaucratic red tapes,” Mr. Pokajam said.
“The cost of Vessel Day Scheme (VDS) has also increased for the PNG based tuna processing companies and their fishing fleets.
Under the new tendering of the VDS, local-based tuna fishing companies bid for exclusive economic zones days at the same (PNA benchmark at US$10, 500 per day) as the Distant Water Fishing Nations who did not have any long-termed investment commitments in PNG,” he added.
He said the MSC certified tuna products attract a premium price and the PNG FIA pursuit provides this opportunity to make up for the shortfall that is prevalent for PNG industry.