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-Papua New Guinea Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Dr Lino Tom is keen to diversify the sector and generate revenue from marine resources apart from tuna.
“Ninety per cent of our fisheries revenue comes from tuna. This sector needs to be diversified,” Tom said.
Tuna fishing is the largest contributor in the PNG fisheries sector and represents a balance of both domestic industry development and foreign access arrangements.
Tuna fisheries is primarily based on the skipjack and yellow fin fish species with smaller quantities of bigeye and albacore.
According to information obtained from National Fisheries Authority (NFA), the country’s annual tuna catch was between 150,000 to 200,000 tonnes.
The potential market value of the regional tuna industry was K1 billion depending on the commodity price.
Catch from PNG waters accounted for 20-30 per cent of the regional catch and was about 10 per cent of the global catch.
Tuna products are exported in the form of fresh chilled, canned, fishmeal and frozen tuna.
Chilled tuna is air freighted to the sashimi market in Japan.
Frozen tuna is exported to Philippines and Taiwan, canned tuna mainly to the United States, Germany and Great Britain with small quantities to the Melanesian Spearhead Group countries and fishmeal to Australia and Japan.
Speaking at a handover ceremony from predecessor Patrick Basa, Tom noted the need for increased local participation in the industry.
He said Cabinet had come up with some strategies to make that work.
Tom stressed the need for NFA to have a board in place, after the term of the previous board expired last December.
Basa urged Tom and the authority’s management to put more emphasis on projects undertaken on State land.
“A major challenge that faced NFA last year was the implementation of the Public Money Management Regularisation Act 2017,” he said.
Basa said funds generated by NFA from selling of fishing days under the vessel day scheme and license fees were transferred directly to the Consolidated Revenue Account.
Ninety per cent of National Fisheries Authority’s revenue is kept by Department of Finance and NFA had to request for 10 per cent of its funds from Finance Department for its operations, programmes and projects.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS
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