MRAG provided one member of the review team for the mid term review of the Rural Coastal Fisheries Development Project (RCFDP). The project purpose of this project was to “increase family incomes through greater participation in sustainable commercial production and improved marketing of marine products.” The project aimed to increase landings of finfish and under-exploited marine resources, increase earnings by improved marketing and processing and improve management of marine resources, particularly benthic species by linking to the private sector.
Fisheries are very important to PNG, and to the rural people in coastal communities. More than 30% of households in coastal areas fish, either for subsistence or artisanally. Some of the more vulnerable and valuable resources, such as beche-de-mer having recently been overfished, incomes in some of the coastal communities have declined and coastal fishing is becoming more and more important both as an income earner and as a subsistence food source.
The project introduced fishing techniques and culture techniques which should move effort away from the vulnerable shallow reefs to the deeper offshore reefs, or provide food and income form aquaculture. The project also emphasised better management of resources so as to reduce overfishing.