By REGINALD RENAGI
Despite numerous public complaints and media reports of illegal fishing activities in our waters, such activities still continues.
An effective response action is urgently needed as time is running out for many fish stocks.
PNG needs immediate measures to deter illegal fishing by foreigners.
What the country must adopt is an effective collective action from relevant agencies to safeguard its resources for future generations.
Let's find some improved solutions to this.
We can do this several ways.
Let's start by having more surveillance crafts and set up an effective national coast guard service to carry out effective resource protection all year around.
National maritime surveillance of our archipelagic waters out to extent of 200 nautical miles Exclusive Economic Zone can be greatly enhanced where vast distances are involved.
As apart from pre-positioning ships in strategic locations and achieving good synergy by the use of aircrafts to augment overall surveillance coverage, including periodical home-porting of ships in key maritime provinces; having forward operations naval bases is a future solution.
This will improve surveillance efforts dramatically in catching foreign vessels found illegally fishing.
Naval forward bases will also mean better fuel consumption for ships and a much reduced response times with a better coverage of distances involved.
The Defense Ministry must establish forward operations bases from strategic locations in Western,
Presently, the Manus patrol boat base and
Therefore, having strategic and smaller forward bases will see better results in the arrest of foreign fishing vessels due to improved surveillance coverage.
The government must programme into its long term development strategy the setting up of suitable forward naval operational bases within the next five years.
A forward operation base at Bwagawaia Harbour on beautiful Misima Island in the eastern Papua region, and one in Western province mainland with perhaps another in Pomio, Wide Bay area of the East New Britain province in the New Guinea region.
The major advantage will be for the PNGDF's maritime element (navy) to effectively project its forward presence better in response to illegal marine activities.
When the economy improves over time then additional surveillance platforms (ships and aircrafts) and other support assets can be systematically acquired by the government.
This is a big "SOS" call for the PNG government to ensure collective action by key agencies to safeguard the country's rich marine resources.
If PNG fails to do this now, than it is just a matter of time before our rich marine resources will be completely fished out by foreigner fishermen.
The reality today is that, many foreign fishing nations have already completely depleted their fish stocks in their own waters, so are now poaching in PNG's rich marine resources with much impunity.