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The 7th Pacific Tuna Forum (PTF) was officially launched Thursday in Port Moresby by Papua New Guinea Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resource Dr Lino Tom.
The biannual forum is being hosted in the nation’s capital from 12- 13 September at the Hilton Hotel with an expected attendance of 200 delegates for the key fisheries resource meet.
Dr Tom placed the importance of the fisheries sector as one that is on par with any other economic sector in the region, stating that the hosting of the meet on Tuna was one that is recognised the world over as PNG and the Pacific region is home to 60 percent of the world’s tuna harvest.
“The Pacific Tuna forum is an initiative of the government of Papua New Guinea through the National Fisheries Authority.
“Prior to the Pacific Tuna Forum, the only tuna conference was the world tuna congress which was originally organized by INFOFISH and is usually hosted in Bangkok over in Thailand.
“As you are aware INFOFISH is an intergovernmental organization based in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), focused on fisheries trade, market development, as well as in aquaculture,” Dr Tom explained.
The minister also emphasised on the aspiration of the government to target 2022 as the year that half of all fisheries caught within the country are to be processed onshore.
“The government sees the fisheries industry as one of its main economic portfolios in this country. With the current economic situation that the government faces, it is looking at actually enhancing and making sure that we get maximum benefit out of our resource especially the fishes and the marine resources that we have in our region.
“As such the government has come up with some policy initiatives and drives and one of those is that by the year 2022 we must realise or we must ensure that 50 per cent of the fish that is caught within our oceans is actually processed onshore,” he said.
He added the PTF has been recognized by INFOFISH and regional fisheries management organisations such as the Forum Fisheries Agency, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, and The Parties to the Nauru Agreement and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, as the only conference within the region that brings together policy makers, fisheries managers, industry players, NGOs and other stakeholders to discuss issues and matters of importance that affect the sustainable management and development of tuna fisheries in the region and the world at large.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
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