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Increase observers on boats : Basil

Papua New Guinea Communication and Information Technology and Energy Minister Sam Basil suggests the National Fisheries Authority (NFA) increase the number of observers onboard tuna fishing vessels from one to two.

Basil told Parliament on Friday that the current arrangement of placing only one observer on a vessel remained a concern.

“I support the concerns raised by the governor for East Sepik regarding the disappearance of observers (four),” he said.

“This is a serious issue right now and will be an ongoing issue.”

Basil said the observers were exposed to many things.

“The boat that they were on, these foreign fishing vessels, have licences that come with certain conditions and there are laws governing their operations,” he said.

“Sometimes these foreign vessels have bi-catches, catching some of the fish species and marine animals that are not allowed in their licence.

“Sometimes, they do transhipment on the high seas without NFA knowledge.”

Basil said for an observer to fight against trans-shipment, it was a matter of some millions of dollars.
“You can see the danger he (observer) is in.

“That’s why I think it is important that we need to pay serious attention to it (observer safety) immediately and we must put at least two observers on board a foreign fishing vessel.”.

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