By Leanne Jorari – EMTV News, Honolulu
Honolulu 11 December 2018 – It’s no secret that fresh fish is sold at outlandish prices in markets and shops in Papua New Guinea and around the South Pacific region.
In urban centers like Port Moresby and Lae, bundles of three to four various types of fish; from Red Emperor to Tilapia and Swordfish; tied together on a string can cost upwards of K30 per bundle. And the same can be said for other marine products such as crabs, squid and prawns.
On the other hand, fresh tuna is considered a luxury that middle to low-income Papua New Guineans can barely afford.
In urban seafood markets, where the majority of Papua New Guineans shop for fresh fish, a single mid-sized, skipjack tuna can be sold for as high as K50. And these prices show no sign of deflating, steadily increasing yearly.
Consequently, the steady hike in prices, have driven Papua New Guineans to buy canned fish, at a fraction of the fresh fish price.
A can of tuna at a shop costs as little as K3 to K6 and is a staple in homes across the country.
Considering these prices and the fact that these were fished in local waters, the obvious question posed is ‘Why is fresh fish and marine products so expensive?’
Dr. Manu Tupou-Roosen, Director General of the Forum Fisheries Agency; an intergovernmental agency established to help member countries sustainably manage their fishery resources that fall within their 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zones; called for regional cooperation to address this issue.
She vehemently said that, “It doesn’t make sense to any of us that our fresh fish, from our own waters, is more expensive than imported, tin fish from abroad. And as a region, we must collectively seek to address that so that we are true to maximizing social benefits as set out in our strategic plan and the vision for FFA.”