The waters around PNG contain an enormous array of fish species. More than 10,000 fish species have so far been identified, but commercially, the most important is the migratory tuna.
About 14% of the world’s tuna is caught in PNG’s 2.4 square kilometre Exclusive Economic Zone. The fishing industry has grown from a dependency on access fees in the early 1980s to a more diversified sector, with significant downstream processing today.
Sylvester Pokajam, Managing Director of PNG’s National Fisheries Authority, says there will be six processing plants within the next few years, potentially employing 50,000 workers.
In 2013, the Thailand fishing company, Thai Union, opened the region’s biggest fish processing centre, Majestic Seafoods in Lae.
Meanwhile, R D Tuna’s Managing Director Pete Celso says his company expects to double production when it opens a second cannery in Madang in early 2014.
Small-scale coastal commercial fishing focuses on prawns, crayfish, barramundi, bêche-de-mer, trochus shells, pearl shell and green snail.
Lobster tails ready for export