PNG’s Fishing Industry Association joins labor standards advisory group, advances rock lobster MSC certification

Published on
December 19, 2022
FIA CSR and MSC Officer Clare Tutuana.

The Marine Stewardship Council has published an assessment report on Papua New Guinea’s Torres Strait tropical rock fishery, advancing it a step to eventual MSC certification.

The report precedes an on-site assessment scheduled for the latter half of January 2023, according to PNG Fishing Industry Association Sustainability Director Marcelo Hidalgo.

“FIA PNG moving to a comprehensive MSC country certification, engaging a second fishery that is part of a long-term sustainability plan,” he told SeafoodSource. “We are really glad to move ahead with this rock lobster certification.”

The FIA previously obtained MSC certification of its purse-seine skipjack and yellowfin tuna fishery in 2020, and launched a comprehensive sustainability plan in 2018, beginning with the introduction of a responsible sourcing policy that has resulted in the association publishing an annual sustainability report.

Separately, FIA CSR and MSC Officer Clare Tutuana was recently invited by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to sit on its activity governance group as an advisor representing the fishery employers in the Pacific Islands.

Tutuana will participate in a New Zealand government-funded project, “Labor Standards on Fishing Vessels,” assisting Pacific island countries in seeking to improve working conditions onboard fishing vessels operating in the region. The project is being led by United Nations International Organization for Migration, with with the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and the ILO acting as implementing partners.

The project aims to accomplish three outcomes:

  • Promoting and maintaining safe, decent, and worthwhile working conditions on fishing vessels, including on foreign flagged vessels operating in the region and including foreign nationals working on those vessels.
  • Developing clear regional labor standards, drawing on international labor standards, and effectively promoting, implementing, monitoring, and enforcing them at the national level for fishing vessels flagged to, or fishing in the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of Pacific island nations.
  • Ensuring effective local, national, regional, and international coordination and collaboration promoting and protecting the rights of fishing-vessel workers.

Hidalgo said his organization hopes to have two of its staff certified in completing social accountability and human rights assessments by Q1 2023. He said the FIA has already pushed for higher labor standards in its fleet through its pursuit of FISH Standard for Crew certification for six of its tuna purse-seiners. It is still awaiting a decision on whether the fleet will receive certification, likely to be announced by Q1 2023.

“Our chairman and members are glad to see the positive impact that the [certification] process have had in [advancing] crew welfare,” Hidalgo said. “We are thrilled to share our experience with ILO, FFA, and IOM.”

Additionally, the FIA participated in an “Our Fish, Our Future” workshop on 8 December co-hosted by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the World Wildlife Fund. The Our Fish, Our Future program has the goal of addressing the drivers of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing blamed for degrading coastal fisheries and biodiversity and negatively impacted livelihoods, food stability, and maritime security in the Pacific region.

Photo courtesy of PNG Fishing Industry Association

Want seafood news sent to your inbox?

You may unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time. Diversified Communications | 121 Free Street, Portland, ME 04101 | +1 207-842-5500