Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Stop marine poaching by foreigners!

Papua New Guinea loses millions of kina worth of fish and other marine resources every year through illegal poaching by foreign fishing vessels. 

Despite numerous public complaints and media reports of illegal fishing activities in our waters, these illegal marine activities still continue.

 An effective response action is urgently needed before many fish stocks run out.  

We need immediate measures to deter illegal fishing by foreigners. What the country requires now is effective collective action from relevant agencies to safeguard our rich marine resources. 

Here are some improved solutions to this and we can do it several ways.  The government should start by having more surveillance crafts and at the same time, set up an effective national coast guard service to carry out effective resource protection all year around.  Maritime surveillance of our archipelagic waters out to 200 nautical miles EEZ can be greatly enhanced where vast distances are involved. 

First, we pre-position our naval ships in strategic locations.  Second, we can achieve good synergy by the use of aircrafts to augment overall surveillance coverage.  Third, we periodically home-port naval ships to operate out of key Maritime Provinces.  A future solution is for the government to also set up forward naval operations bases.  This will greatly improve our chances of catching foreign vessels found illegally fishing in our waters.  The advantage for forward operations bases will mean improve surveillance efforts, better fuel conservation for ships with much reduced response times and better coverage of distances involved. 

The Defense Ministry must plan to establish forward operations bases from strategic locations in Western, Milne Bay and New Guinea Islands and in northern waters towards the Western islands region of the Admiralty group.  Presently, the Manus patrol boat base and Port Moresby landing craft base somewhat limits surveillance coverage by our two maritime squadrons to respond effectively to their offshore tapestry protection duties.  Having strategic but smaller forward bases will see better results in the arrest of foreign fishing vessels due to improved surveillance coverage of our vast EEZ. 

Having extensive naval operational experience in our waters and the 200 miles EEZ for many years, I urgently recommend priority government intervention now.  We must immediately programme into our short to medium development strategies, the setting up of naval forward bases within the next five years.  I further propose forward bases at Bwagawaia Harbour on beautiful Misima Island for the eastern Papua region, and in Western province mainland with perhaps another in Pomio, Wide Bay area of the ENB province.  The big advantage here for our navy to effectively project its forward presence better in response to illegal marine activities.  The economy has really improved for some time now so we should be able to make some big improvements by acquiring additional surveillance platforms (ships and aircrafts), including other support assets. 

This is a big challenge for both the Ministry of Defence to ensure collective action by key agencies to safeguard PNG’s rich marine resources.  If we fail to do this now, than it won’t be long before our country’s marine resources will be completely fished out.  Many foreign fishing nations have already depleted their own fish stocks and over fishing our rich marine resources today with much impunity. 

Can the government now take immediate action to deter illegal fishing activities by foreigner snow before all our fish are gone forever!    


Reginald Renagi


Former Professional Mariner


1 comment:

  1. Fisha Men11:37 AM

    Great comments by Reg and i fully support the position. What we need now is a national coast guard service to do the job the PNGDF has failed for many years to protect our marine resources before foreigners finish everything in our waters.