THE National Fisheries Authority (NFA) is now updating the list of tuna fishing vessels on Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) registry which are operating in PNG’s exclusive economic zone.
NFA wants to effectively track every tuna fishing vessel in PNG waters from here on using the vessel monitoring system (VMS), managing director of NFA Sylvester Pokajam said.
The updates are being done on both the domestic vessels which bear the PNG flag, and the domestically-based foreign vessels.
These vessels bear the flags of their respective originating countries and under the NFA licensing requirement, the vessels have to offload their catch at processing plants in PNG for processing as export loins or canned fish.
This move by NFA is in line with latest European Commission (EC) regulation which is scheduled to take effect on Jan 1 next year.
The illegal unreported and unregulated (IUU) regulation 1005-08 is aimed at improving traceability of all fishery products traded with the European Union (EU).
The regulation also covers provisions on port state control, the setting up of EU alert system, IUU vessel list and list of non-cooperating countries.
“It is also intended to support co-operation between flag states – country of processing and country of marketing – (which facilitate the control of the compliance with the conservation and management rules,” NFA said in a public notice it took out earlier this month.
Mr Pokajam said yesterday once completed, the list would be submitted to WCPFC in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, where it would be added to the vessels’ database.
The listing is accessible by the EU and other regional management organisations (RMOs).
The fishing flag vessels and their owners and operators are required to provide full details of all fishing vessels and carriers.
NFA said the exercise would also complement the outcome of WCPFCTCC5 last month which called for the setting up of unique vessel identifier (UVI).
“Since PNG has one of the best VMS in the region, it has been selected to trial-run the UVI exercise,” NFA said, adding the information provided would be needed to general UVI number for each vessel.
NFA’s licencing and data management section is heading the exercise.