In a move that was expected (and truly deserved) the EU lifted the "yellow card" it had on Papua New Guinea since June 2014.
The EU's press release that announced it recognises that PNG has "amended their legal frameworks to combat IUU fishing, strengthened their sanctioning systems, improved monitoring and control of the fleets".
The good news touches me at personal level, if you follow this blog you must have noted that I have written about working there (here, here, here and here). Over the last 18 months I have worked many times in the country supporting their strengthening actions, and I have been a front row witness of the personal and systemic transformation of the National Fisheries Authority (NFA) staff in charge of the Catch Certification Scheme and its associated Fish Legality and Accountancy controls. I know is very rewarding to them (and me) to feel that they have helped pushing their country off a sticky situation (they are VERY proud people).
Professionally for me is a great satisfaction, there is no template on "how" the system should work... The EU in this area wants outcomes and does not rule how you get there. So is up to countries to come up with systems that provide those results.. the few model available are all in developed countries with vastly different realities than PNG. In PNG we say that if something works here, then there is no excuses not to work anywhere else... (listen to that Philippines, Korea, China and Taiwan!)
So I'm very thankful to NFA, their management and staff, as well to my contractors FFA/DevFish II, for having trusted my vision and the unorthodox development of my systems. We delivered the results expected by the EU, but from a more efficient exporting country perspective and not from a market imposition.
Over the years I made "tru" friends in PNG, which is in many ways a 2nd home for me in the Pacific. I'm immensely proud of the people have I worked with, because it has been 100% their own merit, drive and pride that got the yellow card lifted. Good'n'ya wantoks!
Furthermore, I'm happy to see the EU tackling the bigger guys too! I knew that Taiwan was in the pipeline since April, but is good to see it happening!
I have yet to see (in over 15 years doing this work in the pacific) a Taiwanese flagged or owned (even if flagged in Vanuatu) longliner that is in full compliance and that reports their logsheets in time (perhaps they are... I have just not seen them). So hopefully they do some deep work like the one done in PNG!