Resource owners responsible for managing beche-der-mer

The National, Wednesday July 13th, 2016

National Fisheries Authority managing director John Kasu says the revised national beche-de-mer management plan gives its daily management responsibility to resource owners.
This includes enforcement and surveillance responsibilities. The plan has been approved in principle by the NFA board and once all implementing arrangements are in place, the fishery may be opened for a short period to test the effectiveness of the revised management plan.
Kasu commended the efforts of the Ware Island community in Milne Bay for their initiative to report illegal activities to authorities.
He made this statement after Samarai-Murua MP Gordon Wesley described the moratorium on the harvest of beche-der-mer as a failure.
Kasu said the issue of illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing was a concern faced around the world.
“The recent blue boat (Vietnamese origin) invasion in the fishery is a region wide issue.
“It has occurred in Australia, Cook Islands, Micronesia, PNG, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and Nauru.
“It is not only a PNG concern and is not a consequence of the moratorium,”  Kasu said.
“This concern was raised in the recent ministerial meeting held in Vanuatu and has been noted by the Forum Fisheries Council (FFC). Arrangements to deter such activities at the regional level are on the way including aerial surveillance and replacement of the patrol boats for the Pacific island countries.”
He said NFA has been using its available resources to conduct timely aerial surveillance and sea patrols in an effort to deter illegal fishing in PNG waters. But this requires a collective effort from all relevant agencies including customs, police, defence and immigration to address IUU-related activities in PNG.
In relations to the forfeited items from the Vietnamese vessel, Kasu said that the court forfeited the fishing gear, products and vessel to the state which was a requirement under the law.
“The state will dispose of the items according to due process and take into account the cost of compliance operations,” he said.