Noted as one of Papua New Guinea’s major impact projects, the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ) is set for operations to begin in 2017 before the country’s national general elections in April.
The project costing a total of US$235 million will establish the proposed 10 canneries and port infrastructure.
Since its initiation in 2006 by PNG National Fisheries Authority and Fishing Industry Association, the project has been on hold for various reasons including environmental and landowner issues.
According to the National Fisheries Authority, the project aims to promote the development of basic infrastructure and to reduce post-harvest losses via the construction of a modern fishing port complex in Vidar plantation (where the PMIZ project will be built) in Madang Province.
The construction of the project will be carried out by China Shenyang International Technical Economic Cooperation and according to the Project head, Minister for Usino-Bundi, Anton Yagama, the first cannery should be completed and in operation before the national elections kick off next year.
The cannery project will not be a first as Madang province is a host to the Philippine’s RD Tuna Cannery.
During the project’s first proposed stages, it went through a number of legal and landowner issues including environmental; The Sek clan that owns much of the land that the canneries will be built on, revealed that they’ve learnt tough lessons from the RD Tuna Cannery that operates on the their land and pumps waste into the sea. A women spokesperson was quoted saying:
“We benefit on the sea, our whole livelihood is based on the sea, our food and main source of income.”
Since launching the project last year, the government have remained positive about the project’s outcome. Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill says it will create 30,000 job opportunities and earn the country between US$2 billion and US$4 billion (K6 billion and K12 billion) a year, once fully developed, with Madang Province earning about US$6 million (K20 million) a year.