Introduction of foreign fish species not allowed: Official


THE introduction of foreign or exotic species into fish farms in the country is prohibited, according to the National Fisheries Authority (NFA).
Legal counsel Nancy Taka was responding to concerns of introducing new species of fish into farms in the Highlands that might deplete indigenous fish stocks.
She said aquaculture or the farming of fish was not into the commercial stage yet because it was a new concept in the country.
Taka said the current legislation, the Fisheries and Management Act (1998), which the authority operates under did not fully cater for aquaculture therefore the NFA had done a review of this legislation and it was now in the form of a bill.
“Once it gets the board’s endorsement we will go out and start conducting awareness,” Taka said.
“And aquaculture is one area that is featured in this new bill because it’s part of the Government’s strategies for fisheries under the new strategic policy.
“We want to see more Papua New Guineans participate in this industry and we also want to encourage fish farming and inland fishery,” she said. “Not only for commercial purposes but for food security and income generation at the end of the market. But at this stage we are not into commercial fishing yet.
“Also, the introduction of exotic or foreign species is actually prohibited,” Taka noted.
“In the recent months you may have seen in the news that our Minister (Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Dr Lino Tom) and our officers (NFA) have gone into the Highlands to put fish into river systems.
She said the species put into the river systems were ones that were already part of the local fishery – rainbow trout and tilapia.
The minister and NFA had restocked 100,000 fish fingerlings (trout) into the rivers of Enga in July.