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Reports of Chinese fish processing plant on Daru, Papua New Guinea

The Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) is aware of reports claiming that the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China’s Fujian Zhonghong Fishery Company to develop a $204 million multi-functional fishery industrial park on Daru.

At this stage, the exact nature of the proposal remains unconfirmed. “It is our understanding that the recent reports of a MoU being signed are incorrect. To our knowledge, there is no MoU, only an agreement for a feasibility study of a park to be conducted” TSRA Chairperson, Mr Napau Pedro Stephen said.

However, noting the significant economic driver the fisheries industry has in the region and the potential effect any future operations may have on the sustainability of the resource, the TSRA is continuing to work closely with relevant partner agencies to monitor the issue.

Chair Stephen said, “while the TSRA remains in caretaker mode until February 2021, I want to assure communities of the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area that TSRA business continues. We are already working with Government agencies, local councils and leaders to ensure our Torres Strait fisheries remains protected.”

“PNG is a sovereign nation and whom it enters into agreement with is a matter for the Government of PNG. I am confident that should any development proposal eventuate, TSRA will work with the Protected Zone Joint Authority to assess the potential for impacts on Torres Strait Fisheries. We acknowledge the Torres Strait Treaty clearly sets out the arrangements for the management of our shared marine resources” he said.

Chair Stephen reiterated Torres Strait regional leaders were taking this issue seriously, “the TSRA will continue to engage with stakeholders on this matter in 2021.” Chair Stephen reaffirmed on behalf of the regional leaders, emphasising the Australian Government will not allow the Torres Strait region to be used without consultation for any future China/PNG Fisheries MoU.  The TSRA recommends to always report any suspected illegal commercial fishing activities to the Australian Fisheries Management Authority 24 hour CRIMFISH hotline on 1800 274 634.

We wish all a happy and safe festive season.

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