PORT MORESBY (THE NATIONAL) – The waters of Papua New Guinea are vulnerable to illegal fishing and other transnational criminal activities because of the lack of capacity and resources.
Fisheries Minister Mao Zeming said the Defense Force “takes the lead with surveillance.
“We don’t have facilities like aircraft and ships. That is why we are having such problems,” he said.
“But we want to let you know that this government is aware of this situation and is in discussion with some parties and countries which are willing to help us provide resources and logistics to conduct surveillance.”
Zeming said he had discussion last year in Indonesia with his counterpart and came up with an understanding to conduct joint surveillances in waters along the PNG-Indonesian border.
“The Australia and New Zealand governments are also helping us in the areas of surveillance.”
Milne Bay Gov. Titus Philemon had raise the concern that six foreign-owned fishing vessel were illegally harvesting bêche-de-mer (sea cucumber) in Milne Bay waters.
He said reports had been sent to the National Fisheries Authority. Philemon said foreign fishing boats, believed to be from Indonesia, had been sighted near Simsimla Islands in the Kiriwina-Goodenough electorate, the Calvados chain of islands, Woodlark and the Engineer Group of Islands in the Samarai- Murua electorate.
The fishermen were targeting the teatfish variety of the sea cucumber, which is said to be highly priced.
They also use diving gear, which allowed them to stay for long periods under water.