11 Jul 2017

Call for better protection for Pacific fisheries observers

8:44 am on 11 July 2017

There is a renewed call for the better protection for fishing observers in the Pacific after a Papua New Guinea man went missing while working as a monitor on a vessel in Nauru waters.

Fishing boat in Greymouth

Photo: 123RF

James Junior Numbaru was serving as an observer on the purse seiner Feng Xiang No. 818 when he was reported missing two weeks ago.

Nauru police have said there was no foul play in the man's disappearance but PNG's National Fisheries Authority is seeking further investigation.

President of the Association for Professional Observers, Liz Mitchell, said observers are often put in vulnerable situations where they are harassed while carrying out their work, and is calling for better protection of them.

She said James Junior Numbaru is the latest in a number of observers who have disappeared.

"Well it seems like there have been a lot, there was Charlie Lasisi - he was from Papua New Guinea, Larry Gavin he's the one who completely disappeared. Wesley Talia - some people were out in a canoe, they say a body wrapped in the same clothing as the ship clothing he was on. And they recognised him."