O'Neill calls for localising fisheries

NOW is the time for Pacific Island Nations to work together to end predatory behaviour by companies that take unfair advantage in the fisheries sector.
O'Neill calls for localising fisheries O'Neill calls for localising fisheries O'Neill calls for localising fisheries O'Neill calls for localising fisheries O'Neill calls for localising fisheries

Two of the longest serving leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum share a lighter moment at the opening ceremony of the Pacific Island Nations forum in Samoa last week – Peter O’Neill and host, Samoa’s Prime MInister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi

Staff Reporter

This was said by Prime Minister Peter O'Neill when he addressed the Pacific Islands Forum Private Sector Dialogue on Ocean Commerce in Samoa last week.
O'Neill said the political strength of Pacific island nations to correct illegal activities was often underestimated.
"In the Pacific we are small in population, but we can be very influential when we work together in the global community," PM O'Neill said.
"The ocean territory our countries occupy is vast, and has an abundance of marine resources. Too often the great wealth that belongs to the people of the Pacific has been exploited and taken to foreign shores.
"For many years in Papua New Guinea we had been licensing foreign vessels to fish in our waters. This delivered minimal benefit for our economy and did not create any jobs for our people, while our fish stocks were seriously damaged," he said.
He added that manufacturers from other countries had also taken advantage of inefficiencies in the sector and only ever processed the bare minimum.
He said the government reached a point where "enough was enough", and is now making deliberate interventions where exploitation is taking place.
"We are now changing the dynamics of the fisheries sector in our country so that we do not let foreign companies take away the wealth and simply leave breadcrumbs behind.
"We are getting behind our fisheries sector to stimulate growth in onshore fish processing.
"This proactive approach is creating thousands of jobs, increasing revenue and providing jobs for young fishermen."
This agenda would be vigorously pursued and O'Neill said PNG would work through the forum to stimulate reform around the Pacific.
"All Pacific Nations have the right to protect their marine resources and to draw value from these resources for their people and their economies.
"When we review licensing arrangements that we have in our countries, and the arrangements we have for processing, we can work together in the Pacific to add value together.
"Only by working together can we protect revenue in our countries, create jobs and make sure revenue goes to the right people."