The waters around Papua New Guinea contain large stocks of marine resources. Within the 200 mile economic zone are large varieties of fish, including migrating schools of tuna. Besides abundant tuna and other pelagic species, several other commercially important fish, shellfish, and sedentary species are found in Papua New Guinea waters. More than 10,000 species of fish, molluscs and crustaceans have so far been identified.
Coastal commercial fishing is based primarily on prawns, lobster and barramundi and a collection of sedentary fisheries resources, including Bêche-de-mer, trochus shells, pearl shell and green snail.
The operations are carried out by small-scale commercial fishermen, who sell their product to a range of small to medium sized fish processing and marketing entrepreneurs.
Sea cucumber is collected and processed for export. The trade in shells with lustrous interiors is small, but growing. Domestic private investment in commercial fisheries in Papua New Guinea is small.
Inland fish production is still very much underdeveloped, but commercial farming of trout and carp has been undertaken by a few farmers in the Highlands region of the country.
The Papua New Guinea government is exploring avenues for the privatisation of various aspects of its coastal fisheries programme.
Private sector participation is to be promoted in the areas of handling, processing and marketing of marine products, craft construction, repairs and maintenance, engine sales and ice and fishing equipment sales.
The Government is also playing a key role in the management of the fishing industry. The long-term sustainability of the resources and the environmental impact are the key factors for the long-term sustainability, growth and development of the fisheries sector.
The major emphasis of the Government is the development of industrial and commercial fisheries which will help to provide the infrastructure necessary from small and medium scale fisheries development.
The PNG National Fisheries Authority is the primary regulatory and management body for the sector and it provides support and coordinate fishery development in the country.
It also facilitates export certification and regulation and manages fisheries resources for sustainable growth.
The main fisheries products are Tuna, Bêche-de-mer, Prawn, Aquaculture and Lobster.