Tech helps reduce illegal fishing

National Fisheries Authority deputy managing director Noan Pakop speaking during the fisheries judicial conference in Port Moresby.

THE number of unlicensed or foreign fishing vessels coming into the country has dropped with the use of a satellite based electronic system, according to the National Fisheries Authority (NFA).
Deputy managing director Noan Pakop told The National on the sideline of the fisheries judicial conference yesterday that previously, there were a lot of unlicensed or foreign vessels coming into the country which was a concern to the communities that relied on marine resources.

Participants at the fisheries judicial conference in Port Moresby.

However that had changed as technology improved, through the vessel monitoring system – a satellite-based electronic system.
“We are able to track all the vessels and (link up) with regional surveillance interventions,” Pakop said.
“So there’s a big reduction in the number of the unlicensed or unauthorised vessels coming in.”
He added that about 90 per cent of the violations or infringements were caused by vessels which were licensed through misreporting, underreporting and non-reporting of cases.

National Fisheries Authority managing director John Kasu (right, back) speaking during the opening of the fisheries judicial conference in Port Moresby on Monday. – Picture supplied

Pakop said illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing remained a threat to the long-term sustainability of the country’s marine resources.
The main objective of the conference is to create awareness and understanding of the IUU, the impact it has on the country, the communities who relied on marine resources and the role the courts play in fisheries compliance.
Pakop said if resources like tuna was not properly managed, it would have an impact on all the economies in the region.

Participants at the fisheries judicial conference in Port Moresby.

“That’s why there needs to be collaboration in terms of our management approach.
“Whatever we apply here has to be consistent and compatible with what’s applied in other regions so the resource is managed throughout its range,” he said.
“Our coastal and island communities depend on sustenance of their livelihoods, food security.
“If the resource is not managed well, that affects the socio-economic aspects of their lives.
“When matters are brought up, they need to understand the impact, what is the required level of penalty that can be given to any infringement or violation to ensure that we are deterring people from continuing with those illegal activities.”
Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika said if those who breached the law in relation to fisheries were proven guilty, “they should expect that the law will prevail and the courts takes its responsibility seriously to enforce the law and enforce penalties as prescribed.”