The National – Wednesday, December 15, 2010
By STEPHANIE ELIZAH
REPRESENTATIVES of 14 countries in the Asia-Pacific are meeting in Port Moresby this week to draw up a variety of fishery programmes to be implemented in the coming months.
The 14, including Papua New Guinea, are members of Infofish – the intergovernmental organisation for marketing information and technical advisory services for fisheries products in the region.
Its governing council kicked off the week-long meeting yesterday at Crowne Plaza to discuss, among others, the outlook for the principal fishery commodities relevant to member countries and a look at technological developments in aquaculture and processing in Asia.
PNG is hosting the annual meeting for the third time and would include a field visit to aquaculture farms, Frabelle (PNG) Ltd and IFC Ltd in Lae, Morobe.
Infofish director Dr Muhammad Ayub said in his opening remarks that fish and fisheries formed an important sector in Asia-Pacific countries because it was important for food security, sustainability and was a source of foreign exchange earnings.
“We are meeting here at a time when new challenges are facing the fisheries and fishing industry.
“These include the depletion of natural resources, health and eco-certification schemes, sustainability and food security issues,” he said.
Ayub added that many of the member countries are facing difficulty because of restriction on certification schemes by fish importing countries.
He said Infofish was willing to work with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to standardise certification schemes so that the barriers to the free trade of fish were minimised.
National Fisheries Authority (NFA) acting managing director and Infofish governing council chairman Terry Ward welcomed two new projects to be launched next year in the region.
These were a common fund to promote, process and market freshwater fish products and a FAO regional programme on improving post-harvest practices and sustainable market development for long-line fisheries for tuna and other large fish species in the Indian Ocean region.
The next Pacific Tuna Forum, will be jointly organised by NFA, and will be held in Palau next year.