Marcelo Hidalgo, the Fishing Industry Association’s (FIA PNG) director of sustainability, said that despite a difficult couple of years, Papua New Guinea’s fishing industry was able to maintain demand. He said even though the pandemic resulted in increased logistical costs and prices, the industry’s best sustainable and accountable practices kept them in business.

“The only reason we still have a market is because of our best practices that are clearly demonstrated through transparency like our annual reports, the quantities caught,” Hidalgo said. He claimed FIA PNG’s responsible sourcing policy helped Papua New Guinea’s fishing industry differentiate itself from other countries.

“This is part of our commitment launched in 2018, where we’ve been working on improving human rights and social accountability.

He gave the example of how the cost of exporting tuna has risen due to rising logistic costs, yet best practices and transparency retained demand.

“On global markets where tuna is being sold – retailers are asking what we’re doing to look after crew members – with regards to their human right at sea. We developed a robust due diligence where we took internal initiative to develop our policies and procedures and requested international support; international organisations reviewed our policies and made comments.

“Last year, we did our first internal audit and assessment where each fishing company detected their gaps internally and worked on addressed,” Hidalgo said.

“Not many companies in the world are doing what PNG is doing. FIA PNG is becoming a regional leader or example of responsible management of a fishery, not only in sustainable and environmental but also social and looking at human rights of crew members at sea.”

Image source: FIA-PNG Annual Report