Republished from Radio New Zealand, 26 June 2019

Papua New Guinea’s fisheries sector is losing out because climate change is driving fish away from its waters, PNG’s Fishing Industry Association says.

Association president Sylvester Pokajam, who’s the former managing director of the National Fisheries Authority, said shifting climatic conditions in the western Pacific were pushing certain fish species away from PNG.

The sector is struggling for revenue as a result, Mr Pokajam said.

On the bright side, more fishing vessels are flying the PNG Flag, he said.

Mr Pokajam also praised fishing companies who had established canneries in PNG, providing employment for local people.

PNG-based operations are processing nearly half of the fish caught in the country’s waters, a large portion of which is tuna, he said.

The association recently applied to have its purse seine skipjack and yellowfin tuna fishery assessed for certification by the Marine Stewardship Council.

The fishery includes onshore processing plants supported by PNG-flagged vessels and locally-based foreign fishing vessels.