by Serah Aupong – EM TV News, Port Moresby
Papua New Guinea has put a stop to all commercial fishing activities in and around the Dogleg Waters.
National Fisheries Authority Managing Director says this decision was made by the NFA board and is effective as of the end of last month.
The Dogleg is a stretch of water that is situated on the borders of Australia, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.
“It is a very important area for us but it is a very sensitive area,” John Kasu NFA Managing Director says of the Dog leg fishing waters.
This remote stretch of water has been linked to illegal fishing and human smuggling. Last year, a PNGDF operation apprehended five illegal fishing vessels in these waters.
John Kasu, NFA’s managing director says the challenge for them has been surveillance.
“They come in there, we don’t have observers on board, on the boats, so we don’t have any eyes there to see what is actually happening,” he says of the illegal fishing boats that enter the exclusive economic zone.
PNG is set to lose substantial revenue from the closure of this fishing site. Eighty vessels, that are licensed to fish in these waters “will be asked to exit.” Mr Kasu says the cost of the challenges they have in keeping the Dog leg open outweighs what is being lost.
The cost weighing largely is the potential loss of export licenses to the European Union, following PNG’s yellow card from the European Commission.
However Mr Kasu is optimistic about PNGs progress in having that yellow card lifted following a recent audit debrief and he is “hopeful of a positive response from Brussels.”
In terms of fishing in the Dog leg waters, this will be decided following a review that will be conducted in the coming months.