With around 80% of tuna catches in Papua New Guinea’s waters being processed elsewhere, offering discounted fishing days has cost this PNA island nation “around 16,000 jobs, and hundreds of millions of dollars” according to the nation’s Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill. In an attempt to boost domestic processing, the PNG government has taken a revolutionary decision to implement a new reward system promoting development and employment within the national tuna sector in accordance with the state agreements requiring processing in PNG.
As of January 1st 2018, all vessels, foreign and domestic, and including those affiliated with PNG based canneries, will have to pay the full price for fishing days in the PNG EEZ. However, if these vessels land their tuna catch in PNG, and it is processed at their respective canneries, the production side of the corporation will be rebated USD 400 per ton of tuna processed. It is then up to the company if a proportion of this rebate is shared with the fishing side of the firm.
As PNG is the PNA nation with the biggest amount of fishing days to sell, this is a historical move from the country, and a bold decision.
According to the nation’s Prime Minister, this new system is expected to save over USD 70 million in previously forgone revenue in 2018, and also create more jobs and support development in the region, while at the same time it will also offer higher incentives to processing in PNG, which has always been the objective.
“These changes are about jobs, about the growth of the PNG fisheries sector and the long term social and economic benefits to our people” added Peter O’Neill.
We at Pacifical hope this will lead to a boost in MSC certified free-school canned tuna carrying our logo, being processed within PNG and exported duty free into the EU. This would be warmly welcomed by many eager EU customers that support the PNA region as a whole.