PNG fisheries discount practice to end

8:35 pm on 15 May 2017

Papua New Guinea plans to end the current practice of discounting on the sale of fishing vessel days in 2018.

The Prime Minister Peter O'Neill said more jobs would be created in the local tuna industry following his instruction on state agreements for processors and fishing vessels in PNG waters.

 Tuna on the deck of a Pacific fishing vessel.

Tuna on the deck of a Pacific fishing vessel. Photo: RNZI/Giff Johnson

He said under the plan he has approved today for the National Fisheries Authority, rebates would only be given to fishing fleets or companies that process fish in PNG.

The prime minister said all fleets that fish in PNG waters must be fully compliant with the State Agreements that they had agreed to and signed.

The NFA has been instructed to finalise the plan for the sale of vessel days for 2018 and for this to be concluded by July this year.

Fillipino tuna fishing vessels on the Madang lagoon

Fillipino tuna fishing vessels on the Madang lagoon Photo: RNZI/Johnny Blades

Mr O'Neill said that when fully implemented, PNG's State Agreements could generate an additional 16,000 jobs in the port cities of Lae, Wewak, and Madang.

"Our tuna industry processing capacity is increasing we are now in a stronger position to ensure more tuna is landed on our shores to be processed for sale to overseas markets," said Mr O'Neill in a statement.

A school of yellow fin tuna encircled by a net

Yellowfin tuna inside a purse seine net Photo: Supplied / SPC

"The workforce in our tuna processing industry should be more than 24,000 direct jobs with related flow-on business in related sectors.

"We will ensure that our people are able to value-add by processing tuna in Papua New Guinea and earn more dollars from every fish that is caught in our waters," said Mr O'Neill.

According to the Prime Minister, an independent report for the NFA found that less than 25 percent of fish caught in PNG waters was processed locally.

"This is a loss to our economy of 350 million Kina in direct income and 500 million Kina from missed taxes," he said.

Minister for Labour and Industrial Relations and Member for Tambul-Nebilyer Benjamin Poponawa (left) with Prime Minister Peter O'Neill.

Minister for Labour and Industrial Relations and Member for Tambul-Nebilyer Benjamin Poponawa (left) with Prime Minister Peter O'Neill. Photo: PNG PM Media Office

"In the past a number of these companies had minimal processing in in Papua New Guinea yet benefited substantially from discounted prices for fishing days and sent our fish away to get processed by our competitors in foreign countries.

"This will stop and we will work with industry partners to have Papua New Guineans process our fish," said Peter O'Neill.

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