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Developing legal value chains and alternative markets for western province fisheries in Papua New Guinea

This project will establish a partnership between the Papua New Guinea National Fisheries Authority (NFA), CSIRO and ACIAR to increase the income of and empower communities in the South Fly District while reducing illegal activity and over-exploitation of marine resources in the Papua New Guinean and Australian waters of the Torres Strait.
The South Fly District of Western Province is the poorest region in Papua New Guinea. It is remote and has limited access to major markets (e.g. Port Moresby) by air and boat. Livelihoods depend on subsistence and artisanal fisheries, but over-fishing threatens reef fish and barramundi stocks. Fishermen are fishing illegally in Papua New Guinean and Australian waters, and selling the products to Indonesia traders from Merauke.
The deteriorating socio-economic situation has important implications for the Torres Strait Treaty, which manages marine resources shared between Papua New Guinea and Australia in the Torres Strait Protected Zone, including 13 coastal 'Treaty Villages' in the South Fly District. The overfishing of shared stocks may affect fisheries used by Australian Torres Strait Islanders. Encroachment of Papua New Guinean fishermen into Australian waters requires costly fisheries enforcement and repatriation exercises. Poverty and illegal entry of Indonesian traders creates risks of disease for Papua Province communities, Merauke and Torres Strait Islander communities. Increasing encroachment across both borders poses biosecurity risks through the unregulated movement of people, animals and plant material.