I ENCOURAGE the Marape-Steven Government to introduce a radical but strategic game changer to counter changes in the global market place for tuna fishery consuming countries, especially the European Union (EU) Block.
For EU, it is understandable that they have been taken to task by Philippines and Thailand, among others, to have the same concessions accorded to PNG under the provision of World Trade Organisation agreement on most favoured nation treatment clause.
It means what was offered to PNG under the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement should be accorded to them under other similar market access preferences to the EU.
Off course, PNG will lose big time on the entire value chain benefits of the tuna industry, in terms of loses in thousands of existing and potential jobs and millions of kina in foreign exchange and taxes .
The advantage is that PNG controls about 10-20 per cent of the Tuna fishery in its waters and it has to set its own rules to create maximum economic benefits from harvesting, processing and marketing of the tuna fishery.
It means Philippines and Thailand have to find or buy their own tuna fishery stock elsewhere to feed through its dozens of processing plants supporting millions of workers and huge earnings mega millions of Euros from it to the EU.
Some counter strategic actions include;
- PNG has to ban exports or transshipment of tuna catches direct to Philippines and Thailand;
- PNG has to control finishing licenses and ensure all catches are landed onshore to contracted domestic processors and surplus auctioned to international processors in Philippines and Thailand;
- PNG has to buy three additional patrol boats to curb poaching in its Exclusive Economic Zone and pockets of high seas;
- PNG has to invest in huge cold storage facilities to support onshore landing of catches and auctioning to processors; and,
- PNG Nationals with funding capacity be encouraged to venture into the tuna into lucrative tuna industry.
Without any of the above actions, tuna resources will be exploited for another two years before the next government to decide to change the trend or not.