Pacific / Papua New Guinea

PNG to bolster fisheries co-operation with Philippines

17:39 pm on 4 February 2019

Papua New Guinea has signed an agreement with the Philippines to increase co-operation in fisheries development.

Filipino fishing vessels docked in Madang, PNG. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

A Memorandum of Understanding was inked in the Philippines' Quezon City by PNG's Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources, Patrick Basa.

Filipino media reported the deal would provide for mutual cooperation, consultation and exchange of technical assistance in fisheries research and development.

There's also provision for better control of Philippine-flagged vessels operating in PNG and coordination in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

The Filipino tuna fishing fleet is a major player in PNG's fishery.

Both countries had previously been given 'yellow cards' by the European Union for sloppiness in tackling illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

More recently, the Philippines government objected to PNG's plan to require that all fish caught in its waters be processed domestically.

Last year, Filipino Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol warned it would negatively impact his country's own tuna processing industry.

The new agreement, which Mr Piñol signed with Mr Basa, opens the way for a compromise on the matter.

Last month, the Philippines forged a five-year rice deal with PNG's government covering exchange of technical assistance as well as joint research and development activities.