Surfing association president wants resource owners involved in developing oceans policy

Surfing Association of PNG president Andrew Abel has lashed out at the organizers of the National Oceans Forum held in Port Moresby this week.

The three days forum is expected to end today with a draft national oceans policy in place. The first ever to be developed.

But Abel who was among the participants apart from 14 provincial representatives was disappointed that locals who use the oceans and resources around them were not invited to the forum to  to share their views and consulted.

Their views would essentially form a policy that affects them directly in the end.

This was despite an objective of the forum being promoted that it was about opening dialogues with provinces.

He said for 30 years he was working with resource owners developing surfing, using a locally devised model in the Momase, New Guinea Islands and Southern regions- without any support from government.

“I did it in partnership with resource custodians,” he said.

He realized his model has been empowering the people and communities and other countries are wanting to adopt the model.

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He said his surf management model focuses on the four pillars of surf management in planning, negotiation, implementation and management of surfing vessels.

Abel stressed traditional resource owners use resources within their 3 nautical mile zones near their fringing reefs and it was mandatory they should be at the National Oceans Forum.

“Those policies affect our people on the ground,” he said.

“It’s incumbent on the minister and secretary and agencies to have money and fly them in.”

Abel said he sympathized with resource owners that airfares from places like Kavieng and Vanimo are expensive at around K1,900 return.

“To say we forgot is ignorance,” he said.

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