THE FIA MSC PURSUIT
The pursuit of MSC certification is part of the FIA PNG Responsible Sourcing Policy (RSP) commitment launched in 2018. Our Western and Central Pacific Ocean nations are well known for the responsible management of tuna stocks and for more than 12 years since the PNA obtained the first Marine Stewardship Council MSC tuna fishery certification in the region
Now, Papua New Guinea has taken the leadership in the WCPFO creating a positive impact in coastal communities, obtaining the first-ever small-scale MSC fishery certification for the Torres Straight Rocky Lobster.
RATIONALE FOR PNG MSC CERTIFICATION
So far “Fisheries experts” in the Pacific have boosted about tuna and focus only on tuna, however, FIA PNG sees beyond that, and we decided to enhance our country's image by assisting small-scale fisheries that represent more than 60% of the Seafood catches globally (FAO 2022).
Is this a not good reason for the Pacific Nations to invest in market access to small-scale fisheries?
We recognized that the tuna industrial sector is doing great, and now together with the National Fisheries Authority (NFA) of PNG decided to join forces and get recognition of the Torres Straight Rocky Lobster's good practices at the fisheries.
We embarked on this journey in 2021, by 2022 we applied for the Marine Stewardship Council Fishery Certification that includes investment from the NFA and FIA PNG in management and also at the fishery level. On October 9th, 2023, we obtained officially the MSC certification for our PNG Lobster fishery.
Currently, the PNG seafood products coming from small-scale fisheries are uncompetitive to the rest of the world at the market level. We agreed in FIA PNG to take a step ahead and put our PNG Seafood products in premium markets focusing on small-scale fisheries. This is a long-term investment commitment in PNG.
MSC-certified seafood products attract a premium price. The PNG FIA pursuit provides this opportunity to make up for the above shortfall that is prevalent in PNG small-scale communities.
NATIONAL CONSIDERATIONS/ IMPLICATIONS
The PNG MSC RSP should also be seen as a policy initiative that will create an incentive for the PNG-based Seafood sector. It’s a win-win initiative for PNG. The FIA PNG RSP is a proven model, it is scalable and applicable to any fishery industrial or artisanal, which is based on the Seafoodmatter methodology.
The FIA PNG RSP also has a direct impact on the sector’s export-driven strategy
IMPACT ON NATIONAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT REGULATIONS
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.
The MSC fishery standard is based on the FAO code of conduct for responsible fisheries and also includes performance indicators and auditable requirements that help to benchmark any country's fishery regulations against it and improve the fisheries management regulations.
Where the MSC assessment identifies weaknesses, where we can improve and enhance the management measures and practices of the fisheries sector. PNG tuna fisheries working through MSC certifications enable this opportunity to differentiate ourselves by installing best practices in fleets and show that we are working towards resource sustainability and industry consciousness, we aim the same for the small-scale fisheries of our country.
A CALL FOR THE PACIFIC NATIONS
We invite our Brothers and Sisters in the Pacific to look beyond tuna fisheries, if we want to create an impact on our economies, contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals, and enhance the private sector and government collaboration to demonstrate improvement in fisheries practices.
We are thrilled, again, to be frontrunners in the Pacific with this good example of caring about artisanal fisheries and the coastal community’s impact. This is the first one of several small-scale fisheries that FIA PNG and NFA will put into the MSC program to boost the PNG economy and the country's image as a Seafood source of responsible and well-managed fisheries.