Papua New Guinea and Tuna Exploitation

Many years ago, when we were growing up in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, we occasionally went on holiday to Madang, an incredibly beautiful coastal resort town in this (at that time) untouched, remote pacific island. It was a long trip on the Highlands Highway, which was a two lane dusty dirt road over steep mountain ranges. Our father would carefully pack up our bus, leaving tiny sitting spaces for each of us amongst the suitcases and boxes (we were quite a big family). We usually took a couple days getting there, stopping overnight in a guest-house with rare Papua New Guinean butterflies and beetles encased in glass on its bamboo walls. Mt Hagen was 6,000 feet above sea level, so despite living a few degrees off of the equator, I always remember how the humidity and heat grew as we finally dropped down out of the extensive mountain ranges and hit the hot muggy plains filled with neat rows of sugar beets or palm plantations. As we got older the road slowly got more and more stretches paved, making the trip much shorter.

I just watched this video which shows some scenes from the coastal areas of Madang today, about 20 years later. It is depressing. I remember the water being so clear, the coral gardens the most amazing I have seen ever in my life, teaming with fish. Instead of talking about how this mess can be cleaned up, the PNG government is going along with the EU and the fishing corporations to step up production and put in more and more fisheries. I haven’t eaten canned tuna in ages, but I will definitely not be eating any more in this lifetime. The cheap cans of tuna on our grocery shelves are destroying the lives of many families in Madang.

The following are some excerpts from various articles about the situation, please take a few minutes to read them and do what you can to help. Thanks:

  • Papua New Guinea Tuna Factories Threaten Regional Ecology Livelihoods

    With its large schools of tuna the South Pacific off Papua New Guinea ranks as one of the last rich fisheries of the world’s oceans. Ten large tuna factories are now to be built in the coastal city of Madang with the help of the World Bank. Within a few years industrial tuna harvesting would destroy the region’s rich fish stocks and irrevocably destroy Madang’s beautiful coast. Please support the local people’s protest against these plans by signing a prepared letter. READ MORE

  • European Union Rules to Benefit Papua New Guinea Tuna Sector

    The inclusion of PNG on European Union (EU) competent authorisation list of the illegal unreported and unregulated (IUU) regulation 1005/2008 is a boost to the country’s fish exports to EU markets. READ MORE

    The EU should definitely not be supporting and encouraging this type of hyper-exploitation.

  • Tuna Exploits in Papua New Guinea
  • Protests over Tuna Industry Development Plans in Papua New Guinea

    People from the area of Madang in Papua New Guinea are protesting government plans, supported by the World Bank’s International Finance Cooperation (IFC), to build large-scale industrial tuna canneries and docks, labeled the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ). Over 700 people showed up and marched at the Madang Provincial Governmental Headquarters on October 15th, despite the protest being banned by local police. READ MORE

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