Remarks by Minister for Environment, Conservation and Climate Change, Hon. Wera Mori on RD PNG Fishing Limited
The President/Chairman of the PNG Fishing Industry Association Inc, Mr Sylvester Bath Pokajam, is gravely concern over the remarks made by the newly appointed Minister for Environment, Conservation and Climate Change, Hon. Wera Mori, regarding one of its members, RD PNG Fishing Limited in the Post Courier dated 18 November 2019.
Mr Pokajam said, “at the outset, we are deeply concerned about the news article in which Minister Mori alleged that, and I quote, “we must also remember that we have a cannery, the RD Tuna in Madang and they also dump their rejects such as dolphins and others out into the seas so we must be mindful of these”. This kind of statement without solid fact by a State Minister is harmful to the fishing industry because it could damage our trust and confidence PNG has already established with the international community.”
Pokajam further added that, “Tuna fishing in PNG and the waters of the members of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) is highly regulated by the PNA, Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and the Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). Since 2004, when WCPFC came into being, compulsory conservation and management measures were adopted to regulate fishing in order to eradicate irresponsible fishing and ban Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU).”
Mr Pokajam emphasized that, “All purse seine vessels are banned from the following:
1. Discharging fish and fish-like species at sea;
2. Setting nets on whales;
3. Setting nets on dolphins;
4. Setting nets on sharks; and,
5. Setting nets on turtles and dugongs.”
He went to say that, “To ensure these measures are fully complied with and adhered to at all times by fishing vessels, following compulsory measures shall be implemented by the vessels:
1. 100% observer coverage on board all fishing vessels from port to port 24/7; and,
2. 100% vessel monitoring system installed on board all fishing vessels and they are monitored by NFA 24/7 at sea and anywhere in the world.”
Mr Pokajam is concerned that, “needless to say, such remarks do not in any way helpful to the domestic industry pursuits to attain the Marine Steward Council (MSC) Certification. This is an international recognized certification that will put PNG on the world map as a country that practices sustainable and ecologically friendly methods of harvesting its tuna resources within its exclusive economic zone and archipelagic waters. More so, the Association and its members are currently embarking on implementing Responsible Sourcing Policy that embraces non-destructive methods of fishing as well as safe-guarding its ecosystem”.
Sylvester B Pokajam