Developing alternative small-scale fishery models in the Fly River, Western Province, Papua New Guinea

Women fisheries in Western Province in Papua New Guinea, Small scale fisheries, ACIAR project FIS/2020/110
Project code
AUD 250,000
Research program manager
Prof Ann Fleming
Project leader
Dr James Butler
Commissioned organisation
NOV 2020
APR 2022
Project status
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This project aimed to scope and design alternative small-scale fishery business models for South Fly and Fly River communities in the Western Province of PNG, with a focus on women’s roles in mud crab fisheries and tilapia processing.

Located in Western Province and bordering the Torres Strait of Australia and Papua Province of Indonesia, the South Fly and Fly River region is remote and isolated from major domestic markets.

Consequently, fishers illegally trade high value marine products (shark fin, beche de mer, fish bladders, saratoga fingerlings and mud crabs) into the growing Asian market. However, harvesting of these resources is unsustainable due to unsustainable fishing practices, poor prices received by fishers, lack of cooperation amongst fishers to bargain stronger market positions, and the lack of alternative target species and/or markets. In particular, women’s livelihoods are dependent on mud crabs, and the processing of other fisheries products, but business models are not currently functional.

Expected project outcomes

  • Reviewing business models in PNG and Melanesia and the causes of their success or failure
  • Carrying out value chain analysis of mud crab and tilapia as potential products for women’s businesses in the South Fly and Fly River to identify opportunities for enhanced income generation to women
  • Based on the results of 1) and 2), designing appropriate linked business and resource management models for women that will maximise income returns, and encourage sustainable fishing and enterprises.
Key partners
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation