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  NFA Challenges and Issues  

  • Regional purse seine tuna vessel over-capacity and availability of vessel licenses

The regional tuna fishery produces nearly half the world's tuna, now has more vessels available to operate than required to harvest the estimated sustainable catch. As a result, the number of vessel licenses available to PNG under existing regional management arrangements is becoming limited and needs to be resolved without risk to the sustainability of the resource, yet securing the required product volume for PNG processing plants. 

  • Tuna Resource Concerns

Stocks of two of the three main tuna species (Yellowfin and bigeye) are now considered close to full exploitation levels. This may affect any future expansion of both the purse seine and longline fisheries. It may also result in restrictions on FAD fishing as FADs are known to aggregate large quantities of juvenile tuna. The vast EEZ of PNG requires assurance of adequate financial resources and technology to provide effective surveillance and monitoring. It also requires effective interagency and international cooperation so that surveillance resource are pooled and coordinated. 

  • Lack of Market Access

The continued growth of onshore tuna processing facilities will rely to some extent on continued or expanded access to key markets, notably the EU and the US. Agreements need to be made permanent so that market is assured and extended if growth is to continue. In order to ensure direct development impact in rural areas, the domestic market needs to be further developed to provide a basis for growth in rural entrepreneurship. 

  • Inadequate Onshore Support Facilities (particularly for coastal fisheries)

A range of onshore infrastructure is needed to support coastal fisheries development and market access. While this has been addressed to some extent under development projects supported by ADB and the EU and by NFA projects with the private sector, there is a need to continue to support public and private sector initiatives in infrastructure development. 

  • Lack of Availability of Trained Staff and Crew

Continued growth of domestic fishing and processing capacity represents a considerable opportunity for local employment but is constrained by the lack of availability of trained local personnel, both in terms of seagoing personnel and onshore staff, especially in processing. This is being partially addressed by existing training institutions and NFA financial support for training through the training programmes of the ISMR. This has resulted in the introduction of competency-based training, changes to fishing vessel manning regulations and the development of a new range of courses targeting skill development in the artisanal sector.  

  • Conducive Business Climate for Investment

Major increases in fuel and freight costs have had a significant negative impact on fishing  operations, particularly in the tuna longline and prawn fisheries. There is a need to develop and implement strategies to ensure PNG commercial fisheries can remain competitive and innovative. This might include:

  •  Work permit system - an overhaul of current system is indeed, as it can be a disincentive to foreign investment in the sector where specialist skills are required and delays are experienced in issuing relevant permits.

  • Foreign exchange controls - the export market reality is that PNG is competing with economies and operating in markets trading freely and routinely in US Dollars. Controls are certainly needed but should take account of these realities, so as not to disadvantage PNG exporters and operators in these situations.

  • Bureaucratic ineffectiveness - the one-stop shop for potential investors has yet to fully materialize.


  • Good Governance

A framework for sustainable development is needed with NFA serving in a facilitating and regulating role. Clear policy and transparent procedures will need to continue to be applied. There is a need for continued national Government confidence in the current work of the Authority and commitment to good governance. 

  • Unavailability of Credit Facilities

Lack of availability of credit has hindered local participation in fishing businesses. Fishing is by  nature, a risky business due to high operational and capital costs, this tends to make it difficult for local operators to access finance from commercial banks. NFA has embarked on an ambitious credit scheme project with the National Development Bank that requires both support and monitoring to ensure effective utilization and management.  

  • Fuel Excise

With the dramatic increase in domestic fuel prices in recent years, the application of fuel excise duty is a continuing obstacle to the sector growth and investment. 

  • Lack of Linkages with other Agencies or Services

There is a need for enhanced linkages and coordination between relevant Government agencies responsible for the provision of services and facilities associated with sector growth. Critical areas include, freight services and working relations with investment promotion and trade related agencies for business establishment and  market access.

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