First iFADS to be released in PNG
The aim is simple, a raft floats on the surface of the water, whether it be bush material or metal, a shadow falls and pelagic fish gather underneath – they are known to do this under shades as small as coconuts. Fishermen in dugout canoes can then fish just beyond the reefs protecting declining stocks of reef fish like the Red Emperor (Lutjanus sebae).
After a long delay WWF-Pacific’s first iFADS, funded by WWF-Australia, John West and Australian Aid, have now successfully arrived on the north coast of PNG, thanks to the PNG’s National Fisheries Authority (NFA), and are being assembled in Madang ready for deployment in Madang Lagoon later this month.
It has not been without controversy. Similar deployments of iFADS in Milne Bay and Manus have led to the loss of most iFADS because of suspected sabotage, clan disputes and rivalry over fishing. Both NFA nationally, provincial fisheries in Madang and WWF’s PNG Country Office are hugely keen to see the Madang Province deployments as a success.
Awareness raising is a priority, and this has led to ‘talkback’ programmes on Madang Radio involving all the main councillors in Madang Lagoon and a series of ‘spots’ on Radio Madang to be followed by posters and leaflets in the coming weeks.