PNG Tuna Industries Exploitation

Tuna is the largest of Papua New Guinea Fisheries activities in the country and represents a balance of both domestic industry development and foreign access market.


Catch from PNG waters accounts to a significant portion of the global tunasupply but there is growing concern that certain species of tuna are overfished.


PNG has been a lead player in the region and the global tuna community, advocating sustainable fishery.


It was highlighted during the 13th INFOFISH World Tuna Trade Conference and Exhibition in Bangkok, that PNG plus other smaller nations in the Pacific are being exploited, of their resources, the Tuna.


Papua New Guinea’s Tuna Industry is guided by a National Tuna Fisheries Management Plan, which establishes an overall management structure.


Around 18% of the world’s total tuna stock is found in PNG’s 2.5 million square kilometer Exclusive Economic Zone.


Tuna is found throughout PNG’s fishery zone but especially towards the northern and eastern parts. PNG is a party to a number of bilateral and multilateral arrangements with the aim of managing its fisheries, especially Tuna.


PNG’s potential Market value can add up to about K1 billion depending on the world tuna price. Catch from PNG waters accounts for 20 to 30 per cent of the regional catch and is about 10 per cent of the global catch.


Each year the PNG government through the National Fisheries Authority Board, issues fishing licenses to interested parties, which expires at the end of the year. The management plan that puts some control over how much is being fished is the total allowable catch or the number of fishing days. Cost of fishing in PNG waters is US$6,000 per day. The number of fishing days and the price is set by the Parties to the Naru Agreement or PNA, a regional arrangement to which PNG is a member country.


However, the National Fisheries Authority or NFA, the organization which has a mandate over PNG’s fisheries sector, believes that the country’s revenue received from tuna exports is not sufficient compared to what is taken from its waters.


From the 21st to the 23rd of last month the world tuna community gathered at the 13th INFOFISH World Tuna Trade Conference and Exhibition in Bangkok, Thailand. That meeting was for all concerned parties to collectively focus on how the industry is doing and what is needed to be done.


PNG was again represented at this year’s meeting. Managing Director of NFA, John Kasu delivered an address on behalf of the PNG government which deliberated on how PNG tuna resources were taken away for a minimal access fee.



JOHN KASU –Managing Director NFA


“Over the years we have allowed distant water fishing nations to fish in our waters, take away our tuna for a nominal access fees and I am sorry to say I feel we have been exploited. The fees we receive are insignificant compared to what we see as the true economic value [what is]  taken out of our waters annually”


PNG’s participation in conservation measures was highlighted, giving prominence to its involvement with regional agreements for future sustainability of the tuna resource.


JOHN KASU- Managing Director, NFA


“Unless checked, we face the tragedy of the commons, as seen in many other ocean areas of the world.”


“Today, most of the WCPFC conservation measures, actually reflect our initiative. The Regional fishery management organization continues to encourage fishing states to contribute to sustainability of tuna resources and meet their obligations to the development of our vulnerable island economies”

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