RP, PNG Signs Implementing Arrangements
on Fisheries Cooperation
The two arrangements were signed by the DA-BFAR heads Malcolm I. Sarmiento, Jr. and NFA Managing Director Sylvester B. Pokajam on July 16 in Papua New Guinea. Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap and Minister Ben Sevire of the Papuan Ministry of Fisheries witnessed the signing.
"The arrangements further flesh up provisions embodied in the Memorandum of Under-standing (MOU) for Fisheries Cooperation between the two countries," Yap pointed out.
Yap and Sevire signed the MOU in the presence of Ms. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Prime Minister Michael Somare in Boracay last March 30, 2009.
Yap pointed out that both countries mutually agreed to cooperate in the areas of marine capture fisheries, aquaculture and skills transfer, among others.
Sarmiento said in marine capture fisheries, the PNG agreed to recognize the existing bilateral agreement that allows access for the Philippine fishing vessels to fish in PNG EEZ as well as in the consideration and issuance of vessel days under the Vessel Days Schemes and in the issuance of license to operate in the waters of PNG in compliance with existing PNG laws, policies and regulations.
Existing and future Philippine onshore investments made by Philippine-based companies in PNG will also continue to be recognized, Sarmiento added. The country is currently PNG’s 6th biggest trading partner.
The Philippines on the other hand shall assist the PNG in aquaculture development and in providing technical assistance in the development of pro-duction enhancement and post-harvest infra-structure facilities such as fish ports and auction type fish markets.
In the second memorandum of arrange-ment, the two countries further agreed to have a mutual agreement and recognition of the inspection protocols and procedures for the fishing/freezer vessels flying PNG and Philippine flags and unloading catch in both countries and/or exporting to European Union (EU).
The EU in its Commission Decision 2006/766/EC recognizes the DA-BFAR and the NFA as competent authority or CA of each country, respectively. As a CA, these institutions are tasked to verify and certify compliance of fishery and aquaculture products in accordance with the EU Hygiene Regulations.
Under this specific agreement, the DA-BFAR, delegates its capacity to NFA to regularly inspect the fishing and/or freezer vessels to ensure com-pliance with the EU requirements while operating in PNG waters; inspect the fishing and/or freezer vessels carrying and landing fish in PNG EU accredited facility intended for export to the EU market; and to recommend measures deemed necessary to ensure compliance to EU requirements for both the fishing and/or freezer vessels and for fish products intended for export to the EU market.
The NFA on the other hand agrees to delegate its authority to DA-BFAR to undertake all the above mentioned inspection procedures to PNG fishing and/or freezer vessels operating in the RP EEZ. /MP