New beache-de-mer tax a surprise for PNG Fisheries

PORT MORESBY, 28 NOVEMBER 2018 (THE NATIONAL) – Papua New Guinea National Fisheries Authority (NFA) says it was not aware of a decision by Government to impose a K15 tax on a kilogram of beche-de-mer (sea cucumber) from next year.

Managing director John Kasu said the NFA was surprised and the new tax was something that they needed to discuss with relevant agencies.

Commenting on mixed reactions from two associations whose members are involved in the export of beche-de-mer, Kasu said: “The discussions on the K15 tax has also been a concern to us because we’ve been working closely with them.

“This is a fishery at the grassroots level and the K15 tax that has been applied was something we were not privy to.”

On the reduction of beche-de-mer exporters, Kasu said a decision would be made when the NFA board sat next month.

During the meeting, the board would deliberate on who would have the power to issue export licences for beche-de-mer – NFA or provincial fisheries. Kasu had earlier said there were too many licensed exporters and NFA planned to take back the authority from provincial fisheries.

Yesterday, he said: “There might be changes on the management plans.

“The issue of the increased number of (export) licences has been raised right through to Parliament.

“Those are concerns that have been noted and we will be working on addressing them.”

Kasu said there were also other issues such as sustainability and piracy, which were common in Alotau, Milne Bay and Bougainville. “Those are issues that falls in the jurisdictions of the police,” he said.

“That is also something that we will work closely with the relevant agencies to see how we address those issues. (There is) also the issue of foreigners being heavily involved, which the board is aware of and are taking steps in addressing,” he said.

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