PNG ready for new EU fishing rules

Business, Main Stories


PAPUA New Guinea and Philippines are among those countries seeking clarification on  the new tuna fishing regulations imposed by European Union (EU) which takes effect next Jan 1.
National Fisheries Authority (NFA) managing director Sylvester Pokajam said his officers will fly next Saturday to Brussels with representatives from Manila-based bureau of fisheries and aquatic resources (BFAR).
He said they will ask EU fishing authorities to explain the processes and procedures regarding tuna fishing under the new rules.
The regulations, among others, have put PNG in a “win-win” situation, Mr Pokajam said, as he acknowledged that it would be costly to put in place  specially-trained NFA staff and resources.
However, in the long run, this would be economically viable for the country’s fishing industry.
“We are ready … we just want to know the procedures and the processes … we just want to know how it’s going to be applied. They have to interpret to us the application of the rules so we would know exactly how.”
Mr Pokajam had earlier outlined some of the benefits from the new regulations.
For instance, PNG can now access tuna caught in waters around the world by PNG-licenced vessels;  more encouragement on onshore processing; and   export of tuna products to EU markets duty-free.
These new benefits for PNG are among the vital points under the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (IEPA) signed with EU last July.
The Solomon Island-based Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) said Pacific island countries were  yet to be briefed on the new regulations by the EU officials.
“It is important that this occurs,” FFA said.
During an open forum, it was disclosed that issues of fisheries subsidies were under discussion.
These included subsidies for vessels, vessel acquisition, modernisation and repair, operational support and advice.
Pacific island countries argued that if such subsidies were to be prohibited, the small vulnerable economies must be provided a special differential treatment to allow them to subsidise the development of their fisheries, FFA said.
It also stressed that appropriate management arrangements must be put in place to conserve tuna stocks in the region.