PNG TO LAUNCH $3 MILLION TUNA TAGGING PROGRAM

Country seeks to protect a threatened resource

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 16, 2010) - Papua New Guinea's National Fisheries Authority says it's taking ownership of the country's fish resource with a new multi-million dollar tuna monitoring programme.

The managing director says the authority will spend three million US dollars over three years, starting early next year, on an integrated monitoring programme that involves tagging, fisheries observers, in-port catch sampling and satellite-based vessel monitoring.

About 250,000 tuna in Western and Central Pacific waters have already been tagged in a Secretariat of the Pacific Community programme that began in 2006.

Sylvester Pokajam says with the second largest achipelagic waters in the world, PNG needs to know a lot more about its fish stocks.

"My fishery in terms of tuna is all year round fishery, it's not seasonal. And I need to know whether I have local resident stocks or not. And so far to date I have not received any kind of information from the established techniques being carried on now so I've decided to take this on my own."