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Papua New Guinea Fisheries Industry Association president Sylvester Pokajam says the country should oppose the ban on high seas bunkering.
Bunkering is the supplying of a ship with fuel, lubricating oil, or potable water, usually at a port or at sea.
Pokajam last week attended the annual meeting of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) in Marshall Islands – Majuro.
Ministers and Pacific Island Forum leaders agreed to ban high seas bunkering of fishing vessels. But he said it was not easy.
“If we ban it will add more cost to fishing companies and PNG flag vessels linked to our processing plants,” he said.
He said countries such as the US, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, the Philippines, China, European Union and others would continue bunkering at sea.
“High seas are no man’s business, governed by UNCLOS (United Nation Convention law of the seas),” he said.
“My honest opinion is PNG should not support banning high seas bunkering because today we have observers and vessel monitoring systems (VMS) on board all fishing and carrier vessels real time. Therefore human and drug smuggling is not a problem.
“PNG should equip modern coast guard vessel to patrol our waters.”
The meeting was attended by representatives from nine islands controlling the majority of tuna in the Western and Central Pacific.
They met to discuss important tuna management issues for the region. Other issues discussed included fishery observer safety and management programmes, progress on implementing the vessel day scheme for the long line industry, developments of PNA’s Fisheries Information management system, and reviewing the status of tuna stocks.
SOURCEl THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
Who & What is PINA?
International News Safety Institute (INSI)
Media Helping Media