With its vast fish­ing grounds pop­u­lated by some of the world’s largest tuna stocks, PNG is well-placed to de­velop a strong on-shore fish pro­cess­ing in­dus­try.

Business Advantage Papua New Guinea - - Contents -

More than 10,000 fish species have so far been iden­ti­fied in the wa­ters around PNG, but com­mer­cially, the most im­por­tant is the mi­gra­tory tuna.

Be­tween 12% and 17% of the world’s tuna is caught in PNG’S 2.4 mil­lion square kilo­me­tre Ex­clu­sive Eco­nomic Zone.

With the open­ing of one mas­sive new can­nery, the com­mence­ment of con­struc­tion for an­other, and more on the drawing board, Lae is set to be­come the South Pa­cific’s main fish-pro­cess­ing cen­tre,.

Sylvester Poka­jam, out­go­ing Man­ag­ing Direc­tor of PNG’S Na­tional Fish­eries Author­ity, told Busi­ness Ad­van­tage PNG there will be six pro­cess­ing plants within the next few years, po­ten­tially em­ploy­ing 50,000 work­ers.

Re­gion’s big­gest pro­cess­ing cen­tre

The Thai­land fish­ing com­pany, Thai Union, opened the re­gion’s big­gest fish-pro­cess­ing cen­tre, Ma­jes­tic Seafoods, in 2013, which will even­tu­ally be able to process 600 tonnes of tuna per day.

Ma­jes­tic Seafood joins two ex­ist­ing pro­cess­ing plants run by In­ter­na­tional Food Cor­po­ra­tion and Fra­belle.

The Chi­nese-owned Zhoushan Zhenyang Deep-sea Fish­ing Com­pany plans to build a tuna loin plant to process 250 to 300 met­ric tonnes per day, em­ploy­ing 3000 lo­cal work­ers.

The Korean firm Dong­won is also seek­ing to build a tuna loin plant, while Nam­bawan Seafood, a joint ven­ture be­tween Trans Pa­cific Jour­ney Cor­po­ra­tion, TSP Marine of the Philip­pines and a Tai­wanese com­pany, is also on the drawing board.

In Madang, R D Tuna Can­ners’ Man­ag­ing Direc­tor Pete Celso says his com­pany ex­pects to dou­ble pro­duc­tion af­ter open­ing a sec­ond can­nery there in early 2014 (see page 17).

Tuna stocks

But the de­ple­tion of fish­ing stocks con­tin­ues to be of con­cern to the in­dus­try across the re­gion, af­ter the West­ern and Cen­tral Pa­cific Fish­eries Com­mis­sion (WCPFC) meet­ing in Cairns, Australia, at the end of 2013 agreed to re­duce the long­line big­eye tuna catch by 10 to 30 % for for­eign fish­ing na­tions. Lim­its on purse seine fish­ing will be con­sid­ered by the WCPFC dur­ing 2014.

By con­trast, small-scale coastal com­mer­cial fish­ing fo­cuses on prawns, cray­fish, bar­ra­mundi, bêche-de-mer, trochus shells, pearl shell and green snail.

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