Bird worried over disappearance of fishing observers

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EAST Sepik Governor Allan Bird says the disappearance of National Fisheries Authority-employed observers from fishing vessels is a serious concern.
Bird told Parliament yesterday that the Government should take necessary steps to investigate the missing people and if possible, suspend the fishing licences of those foreign vessels the observers were engaged on.
“Last year in July, one of my young men in East Sepik, who is an observer employed by NFA, went missing without a trace,” Bird said.
“The role of observers on fishing vessels in the country is to document illegal fishing practice on the high seas.
“It is my understanding that last year up until July, four Papua New Guineans were lost at sea without a trace.
“It is understood that before last year, there had been 18 Papua New Guineans lost at sea without a trace or any witness and as far as I know,” Bird said.
“No one has been found guilty of any foul play and this is strange.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Charles Abel said: “It is true that the NFA does have observers located on all foreign fishing vessels to monitor the catch that those foreign fishing vessels take in PNG waters in terms of monitoring and reporting back so that we can have knowledge of what is being caught.
“If it is true (missing observers), then it is a serious concern and the Government can take appropriate actions.”