Beche-de-mer group registered

Business

The Beche-de-mer Exporters’ Association of Papua New Guinea is now a registered entity with the Investment Promotion Authority.
This was announced by interim president Harry Landu.
Landu, who is also owner and managing director of Wamomo Seafood Exporters Ltd, of Port Moresby, expects the association to play an important and influential role in promoting the profile of the industry.
This is especially in ensuring that PNG is able to consistently produce top-quality products using sustainable fishing practices.
During the 2018 season – after a seven-year moratorium imposed by National Fisheries Authority from 2009 to 2016 – 500,000 rural fishers were directly engaged in producing and selling beche-de-mer.
The fishers earned K42 million in cash revenue, with exports of beche-de-mer from PNG valued at K100 million
“The 2017 season also witnessed 60 per cent of harvested sea cucumber poorly processed and were rejected by buyers,” Landu said.
“Our rural fishers would have earned an additional K20 million-plus and the export revenue would have been close to K200 million if this was avoided. In collaboration with the NFA board and authority, some urgent training on how to process good quality beche-de-mer was conducted late last month and the association is expecting more of such collaborations during
the course of the season and thereafter.”
Landu thanked the NFA for initiating the concept of having such an association, given the important economic impact this fishery was and would be having in rural coastal communities.
“This fishery has a great potential to improve the wealth and quality of the lives of our people at that level,” he said.
Landu said that there was also a major concern amongst some of the major operators that the large number of export licenses issued by the national fisheries board and authority may be detrimental to efforts now being initiated to build a reliable and trusted brand of beche-de-mer from PNG.
“Monitoring and compliance by the National Fisheries Authority will also be difficult,” he said.
“Collaborative efforts by the NFA and industry to consolidate and develop a reliable and trusted brand of PNG beche-de-mer products will be severely affected as unscrupulous fly-by-night operators are operating at will in all our coastal areas right down to the villages.
“Whilst the beche-de-mer management plan clearly stated that no foreigner is allow to buy as this business is restricted to PNG citizens, it is now become so apparent that Chinese buyers have
infiltrated every coastal community to buy directly from our fisherfolks, exploiting their vulnerability and buying products which are still being processed or whilst it is still fresh.”

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