PNG leads Pacific in tuna catch

By ANCILLA WRAKUALE

Papua New Guinea (PNG) has the highest tuna catch among the Parties to the Nauru Agreement member countries. PNG stakes claim to 54% of the total catch and 34% of the catch from the Western and Central Pacific Ocean.

Fishing Industry Association president and managing director of RD Tuna Canners, in Madang, Pedro Castillo Celso presented the status and trade trends of the industry in PNG at the third Pacific tuna forum in Palau yesterday.

The PNA member countries contribute 32% of the world tuna supply and 64% of Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO).

He said the average annual catch of tuna in PNG during the past five years was around 500,000 metric tonnes.

PNG’s tuna catch for 2010 was 749,000 tonnes, which was about 17% of the world catch. Average estimate catch of tuna in the waters of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) countries – PNG, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Palau and Tuvalu – was 1,400,000 tonnes or about 32% of the world tuna supply and 64% of the WCPO catch.

Celso said at the current price of US$1,800 per tonne, the raw value of tuna catch worldwide was about US$7.7 billion. The estimated value of raw catch of tuna in the PNA region was about US$2.5 billion, while the estimated raw value of tuna catch in PNG was about US$1.35 billion, which if totally value added, could reach US$2.7 billion or K6.4 billion.

He said purse seine fishing in PNG had plenty of players and appeared to be vibrant despite challenges, while the long line industry needed to be revived. He said on-shore processing was active, with ongoing expansion and needed to be supported by the government.

Source: The National, September 8, 2011

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