Illegal fishing activities in Gulf confirmed

The National Fisheries Authority has confirmed that it received allegations of illegal fishing activities in the Gulf Province and an investigation is currently underway on the matter.

NFA’s Managing Director, John Kasu responded to questions raised by Gulf Governor Chris Haiveta saying that NFA is currently carrying out investigations in relation to the subject vessels CAPS 1 and CAPS 2, which were referred via the Governor’s complaint.

Both vessels are PNG flagged and each hold a fishing license currently issued by NFA. Both were immediately recalled from operations in the Umuda area in Western Province, and an investigation was initiated immediately to ascertain whether there were breaches of conditions of their respective licenses.

Mr Kasu said that the NFA has taken necessary steps after confirming Fishing Vessel CAPS 1 was fishing south-east of Umuda Island in the Western Province. The vessel was advised to immediately leave the area and directed to call into the port for further investigation into this allegation.

“The NFA’s Enforcement officers have boarded the vessel and are now working on the investigation,” said Mr Kasu.

On 12 November, the FV CAPS 1 was found to be fishing near the Umuda Island in the Western Province, which is well outside the closed area. They were then advised to leave the area after issues were raised.

The vessels are duly licensed and registered and the alleged infringements and or breach of licensing conditions does not warrant automatic cancellation of their licenses.

In response to the Governor’s call to handover the fish caught to the Gulf Provincial Government, MD Kasu said that it is a subject of the NFA investigation process until it is completed and neither the Governor nor NFA have the power to deal with the catch on board.

“In this case, only a normal investigation process will determine this outcome. Currently investigation is on foot and appropriate enforcement actions will be taken to address this alleged breach of the relevant fishing laws,” said Kasu.

He added that NFA will take into consideration on the best cause of action if any, to take against the company and the captain.

Carol Kidu