PAPUA NEW GUINEA PUTS PRIORITY ON TUNA STRATEGIES

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By Harlyne Joku

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (September 15, 2000 - The National/PINA Nius Online)---Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Ron Ganarafo has stressed that proper management arrangements must be in place before PNG's rich tuna stock resource is effectively exploited.

Mr. Ganarafo said that PNG, as host to a major share of the Pacific region's tuna stocks, has placed the highest priority on ensuring that proper management arrangements come into place.

He made the comments at the most recent session of the Multilateral High Level Conference on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks.

(SEE: PACIFIC FISHING AGREEMENT HAS FAULTS, BUT STILL NECESSARY: DR. SANDRA TARTE)

This conference has been the vehicle through which coastal states, largely Forum Fisheries Agency member countries, including PNG, and distant water fishing nations (DWFN), have been negotiating over a period of five years for a convention on sustainable use and management of the tuna stocks in the Pacific region.

A convention was adopted at a recent meeting in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. However, Mr. Ganarafo said PNG's signature will be appended only after internal procedural requirements have been satisfied.

"The significance of this convention to PNG cannot be underestimated, as PNG is among those Pacific countries which are home to approximately 70 percent of the world's tuna stocks.

The convention foreshadows change. The nature of change depends on the disposition of participants towards signature and eventual entry into the force of the convention," Mr. Ganarafo said.

Mr. Ganarafo said there were already new alliances emerging in the sector and they were ready to play a significant role in fisheries. He said PNG welcomes these prospects.

He added that the main thrust of the convention is for proper fisheries conservation and management, so both coastal states and fishing nations will benefit from this valuable resource for generations to come.

He added that while PNG may sign the convention later than some countries, it does not detract from the fact that PNG has been among the most active players in the five-year negotiations among the 24 countries.

For additional reports from The National, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The National (Papua New Guinea).

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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