By SHEILA LASIBORI
THE inclusion of PNG on European Union (EU) competent authorisation list of the illegal unreported and unregulated (IUU) regulation 1005/2008 is a boost to the country’s fish exports to EU markets.
Prior to this official inclusion last Feb 4 (2010), under the then Cotonu Agreement, PNG (and others) could only export to EU markets duty-free on fish caught only in archipelagic and territorial waters, Na- tional Fisheries Authority (NFA) managing director Sylvester Pokajam said.
With the inclusion, PNG can now export to EU markets fish caught anywhere in the world and not just restricted to archipelagic and territorial waters, he said.
Archipelagic waters are those internally-owned by sovereign nations such as ownership of land, while territorial waters are those located 12 nautical miles from archipelagic waters to the start of the 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
The economic partnership agreement (EPA) currently being negotiated replaces Cotonu Agreement and the interim EPA (IEPA) was signed by PNG last July.
Fiji signed the same document recently.
The IEPA also gave rise to PNG’s authorised status pertaining to the IUU regulation which came into effect last Jan 1.
“After we signed that agreement, we are now qualified to export globally-sourced fish as long as it qualifies the IUU regulation and the sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS),” he said.
The IUU regulation aims to improve traceability of all fishery products traded with the EU markets.
And for every EU-market destined canned fish and loins exports, copies of the documentation of the IEPA must accompany the catch (authorisation) certificate.
Head of the EU delegation to PNG Ambassador Aldo Dell’ariccia had said what now stood to be done by third countries including PNG was to validate the catch certification for products exported to the EU as long as the products came from catches that complied with conservation and management measures.
According to Mr Pokajam, the certificate will be issued only for the fish that is processed and not necessarily for every catch by fishing vessels.
He said this was the latest change by EU which he supported.