Revival of Pole and Line fishing in Papua New Guinea

The SFP programme is supporting actions to develop selectivity of Skip-jack tuna fishing, fuel-consumption reduction and improved freshness, making a contribution for the re-establishing of this fishery.

In the 1980s, the once thriving pole and line fishery for skipjack in Kavieng, Papua New Guinea ground to a halt when it could not compete in a commodity market dominated by high landings from purse seiners. Now the situation has changed. There is a renewed interest in pole and line fisheries sparked by demand from environmentally conscious consumers willing to pay a premium price for product sourced from sustainable fisheries. In comparison to purse seiners, pole and line operations are size specific and selective with only limited by catch. Also, with the use of stationery fish aggregating devices (FADs) and the harvest of in-shore waters they are relatively more fuel efficient. In addition, more jobs are created per tonne of fish caught, a particular benefit to coastal communities where alternative economic opportunities are generally lacking.
Conscious of the potential value to EU consumers and the need to apply EC quality and health standards from capture through to export, the SFP Programme, Module 3 is pro-active in working with the private sector in Papua New Guinea to assess the financial feasibility of re-establishing a pole and line fishery for skipjack in Kavieng. This aims to build an integrated project for the collection of live bait used in pole and line fisheries, the catch of skipjack and for local on-shore processing of tuna loins to be exported for canning and sale in the Europe. Adding value to the product by using local labour and resulting in a reduction of long distance to de market transport is an essential element in the choice of the pole & line method.
Module 3’s financial analysis of the proposed fish catching and processing operations concluded that the concept is viable and strongly merits further investigation. Consequently, the SFP Programme will support further inputs into project design. A number of stakeholders have shown substantial interest in the project, including international companies looking to source pole and line caught fish and international agencies that recognise the potential for sustainable development in the regional economy.