The National – Tuesday, June 28, 2011
LAST week, there was a meeting by senior government ministers and officials to discuss ways and means to encourage local marine resource owners to be fully involved in inland and coastal fisheries.
This move will ensure our coastal fishermen and women can earn a lot of money.
Such a move is also aligned with Vision 2050 to make PNG a smart, wise, wealthy and healthy country.
However, as a coastal resource owner who is affected by the introduction of a foreign fishing operation in our provincial waters, I call on the government to urgently amend the Fisheries Management Act 1998.
Section 26 of the act, covering customary resource ownership, says the rights of customary owners of fishery resources and fishing rights shall be fully recognised and respected in all transactions affecting the resource or the area in which the right operates.
This section simply says to respect and recognise, but does not stipulate or obligate foreign fishing companies should assist local artisanal fishermen/women to harvest and market marine products.
There is also no provision for inland fisheries or aquaculture.
Therefore, it does not make sense to go and build expensive infrastructure such as jetties and ice plants, and purchase small fishing boats unless the act is amended first to cater for local resource owners.
John M. Samar
Kairiru Island, Wewak