PNG can be world tuna leader
With the correct management, PNG can become the leader in the world tuna business, believes Chairman of the PNG Fishing Industry Association, Pete Celso.
With average annual exports of at least 500,000 tonnes of tuna, PNG is already a major player in the world tuna trade, accounting for between 12% and 17% of the world’s tuna catch. Together with the Pacific’s other tuna–exporting nations—the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA)—PNG accounts for about 35%.
PNG’s importance could increase further if key reforms occur, according to Pete Celso, Chairman of the PNG Fisheries Industry Association.
Improved scale in the industry is essential, to overcome some of the challenges of doing business in the country. This means more wharves, storage facilities and also more onshore processing, so that PNG realises more of the value of its catch.
With an additional three canneries being built and current operators expanding, this is starting to occur, and Celso has hopes that the planned Pacific Industrial Zone in Madang Province will further improve the situation, allowing operators to share infrastructure and make PNG’s northern coast a more cost-effective destination for international shipping.
Tariff-free access to the massive European Union market through an Economic Partnership Agreement has provided a major fillip for PNG’s tuna exporters, and Celso told delegates of the 2013 Papua New Guinea Advantage Investment Summit in Port Moresby that the conclusion of a similar access agreement with the United States—the world’s largest single tuna market—was a key priority.
‘With a well-planned and successful tuna management and development in place that can address all issues in a balanced manner, PNG can truly become the leader of the tuna business in the world,’ he told the Summit.
‘If Thailand can rake in billions of dollars without having a fishing ground and sets of fishing boats … why then can’t PNG make the same revenue and benefit out of its truly-owned resources and make Papua New Guinea the tuna capital of the world?’
The PNG Fishing Industry Association’s Pete Celso