Prime Minister Hon. James Marape expressed his enthusiasm today, describing the signing of a memorandum-of-understanding (MOU) between RD Fishing Group (RDFG) of the Philippines and the Papua New Guinea Government as a “historic milestone for the country.”

The MOU was signed during a ceremony by RDFG, the National Fisheries Authority (NFA), Kumul Consolidated Holdings (KCH), and the Ministry of International Trade and Investment (MITI). Witnessing the signing were Prime Minister Marape, Minister for International Trade and Investment Hon. Richard Maru, State Enterprises Minister Hon. William Duma, and Fisheries Minister Hon. Jelta Wong.

Under the MOU, RDFG and the State will engage in negotiations to establish a fishing company in Madang. The primary objective of this agreement is to determine the commercial terms for RDFG and the State to form a joint-venture (JV) company responsible for fishing and processing all catches in a new cannery located within the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ) in Madang, designated as a Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

A State Negotiating Team (SNT) has been appointed and granted a three-month period to finalise negotiations and present a mutually agreeable proposal to the National Executive Council. The successful outcome of these negotiations will pave the way for the establishment of the proposed new fishing company.

The SNT comprises distinguished members including Chairman Isaac Lupari, Deputy Chairman State Solicitor Daniel Ropalgarea, KCH Managing Director Dr. David Kavanamur, Minister for Labour and Employment Hon. Kessy Sawang, Madang Governor Hon. Ramsey Pariwa, NFA Managing Director Justin Ilakini, and International Trade and Investment Secretary Jacinta Warakai-Manua.

For the first time in Papua New Guinea’s history, a major fishing operation will be conducted in its waters by a renowned company utilising PNG-owned fishing vessels and employing local crew.

Prime Minister Marape stated, “This signifies a significant step toward the commercialisation of the tuna industry in our country. It is a monumental stride in exploring the untapped tuna reserves in our region, fostering employment opportunities, and driving economic growth across all sectors.”

He further acknowledged the dedication and vision of Hon. Richard Maru, Minister for International Trade and Investment, and Hon. Jelta Wong, Minister for Fisheries, and their teams, who have worked diligently behind the scenes to initiate and propel this endeavor forward.

“This represents our government’s unwavering commitment to formulating policies and advancing development agendas to maximise the benefits derived from both renewable and non-renewable resources since 2019,” added PM Marape.