By GYNNIE KERO
THE country can expect increased job opportunities and millions of kina in revenue if the Government considers offering discounts on fishing days, says the Fishing Industry Association (PNG) Inc.
Association president and chairman Sylvester Pokajam said selling fishing days to companies under the vessel day scheme (VDS) could generate K471 million for PNG in a year.
The association had suggested that the Government should consider offering discounts on VDS for domestic fleets from US$6,000 per day to US$10,500 per day.
Other PNA member nations offer to their domestic fleets per day as follows: Federated States of Micronesia (US$6,000), Kiribati (US$7,500), Nauru (US$6,000), the Solomon Islands (US$ 6,000), Marshall Islands (US$7,500), Tuvalu (US$7,500), Tokelau (US$7,500), Palau (US$7500) and PNG (US$10,500).
Days allocated to EEZ is equally divided between domestic fleets linked to shore-based processing plants and distant water fishing nations (DWFN).
Under the scheme, the country’s six tuna processors get a rebate of US$308 (K1,064) this year for every metric tonne of tuna produced.
“Offering discount to fishing vessels linked to shore-based processing plants will see the growth of direct employment from 11,000 to 23,000 and indirect employment from 55,000 to 115,000,” Pokajam said.
“Export earnings would grow from current K400 million to K1 billion excluding the vessel day scheme value.”
The National Fisheries Authority (NFA) board in a meeting last December approved the US$6,000 (K20,87.04) per day for domestic fleets.
But the authority’s board is yet to confirm whether the discount on VDS for domestic fleets has come into effect.
The NFA board has powers to approve fishing licenses and licences fees including the VDS as stipulated in the Fisheries Management Act 1998.
Pokajam said next year’s rebate would drop to US$250 (K869.60), thus future of rebate is in
doubt and subject to National Fisheries Authority board’s consideration.
By GYNNIE KERO