L-R: Waum Elemenop Fisheries Officer Western Province, Robert R Kaiyun Provincial Administrator, Hon. Maso Hewabi Member Elect Middle Fly District, Johanis Saferius Trust Administrator, Andrew Mari OTDF Executive Manger Program Services, Robin Weke MFIL Board Chairman and middle fly locals welcome the new facility at Obo.

In a significant leap towards fostering sustainable development in the Middle Fly region of Western Province, the long-awaited Zibo Zonga Fishing project has achieved a major milestone. The initiative, a collaboration between the local communities, the National Fisheries Authority (NFA), and Ok Tedi Development Foundation (OTDF), recently processed locally caught fish and stored the first 28 kilograms of fillets in cold storage.

The fulfilment of this project can be attributed to the positive partnership and ongoing dialogue between the stakeholders involved.

Mr. Lesley Timothy, team leader of the OTDF Business Development (BD), emphasized the pivotal role played by the NFA in making the project a reality. He revealed that a proposal to revive the project was presented to the NFA in 2019, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. “After initial inspection of the facility, the National Fisheries Authority recognized the significance of the Zibo Zonga Fishing project and designated it as one of its priority undertakings in the country,” said Mr. Timothy.

The official handover of the fish processing facility to the communities took place on November 17. Mr. Timothy further explained that the NFA has advised ensuring that the project’s requirements were meticulously documented during the initial feasibility studies.

Middle Fly Member Hon. Maso Hewabi was on hand to witness the handover ceremony. He apologised to his people for the laid back involvement in the project but assured that the Zibo Zonga project would receive district support. “I apologies for the delay in project delivery but today I commit K150, 000.00 to boost the project”.

Currently, feasibility studies is ongoing in the twelve villages that have ownership of the fishing company. These villages include Kaviananga, Obo, Owa, Levame, Kasa, Komovai, Aiambak, Wangawanga, Bosset, Manda, Mipan, and Kuem. The initial phase involved identifying a neutral area for the factory’s construction now in Obo, which will not only provide a market for local fishing villages but also establish satellite ice machines powered by a hybrid power source in each of the twelve villages, meeting NFA’s requirements for continuous 24-hour cooling systems. Representing the NFA CEO’s office Mr. Geoff Puri NFA Investment Development Manager as the guest of honor informed the community present that NFA was committed to providing an additional 20-foot container cooling system to complement the existing facility.

Mr. Puri encouraged the company to have strong management. “From NFA we request that the company must have very strong management and must understand the rule of the board of directors and management so that we want the project to be sustainable. I can see from here that the project is self-sustaining.”

Reflecting on OTDF’s commitment to enhancing self-sustainability and quality of life in Western Province communities, Acting CEO Mr. Andrew Mari highlighted OTDF’s proven record of accomplishment in effective and efficient implementation of development programs, strengthened partnerships, and open and transparent communications. He acknowledged the presence of Mr. Geoff Puri,  and expressed gratitude for the continued support towards the establishment of the locally owned and managed fishing company.

Mr. Mari further emphasized the significance of NFA’s support in acquiring a fishing license, stating, “It’s not easy to get a fishing license, but without that support from NFA, we won’t be able to operate the facility.” He extended sincere thanks to the Managing Director of the National Fisheries Authority and the entire team for their instrumental role in facilitating and providing guidance to meet the criteria for the issuance of the license. As the Zibo Zonga Fishing project continues to unfold, it stands as a beacon of sustainable development and community empowerment in the heart of Western Province.

Acknowledging the crucial financial support, Robin Weke, Chairman of Middle Fly Investment Limited (MFIL), credited Mr. Masola Abilo, the company chairman, for committing K300, 000 from the Middle Fly Village Development Funds (VDF) to kick start the project. Weke expressed gratitude for the progress made by OTDF, stating, “This is the project that the people have been waiting for, and we really appreciate what OTDF is doing in terms of its progress.” The majority of the fish products are slated for export to established domestic and international markets, ensuring that local fishermen reap the full benefits.


About the Zibo Zonga Fishing Company Limited

Zibo Zonga Fishing Company Limited was incorporated on 24 July 2019. It is a local small scale fishing entity wholly owned by the Community Mine Continuation Agreement (CMCA) communities in the Central and Lower Middle Fly Region. The company board comprises of both local landowner representatives and external directors from key stakeholders that includes the Fly River Provincial Fisheries Division and Ok Tedi Development Foundation (OTDF).

The company was purposely established to provide market opportunities for remote fishing communities along the Fly River particularly the Central and Lower Middle Fly villages. The company’s aim is to operate a fish processing facility for local fisherman and women to sell their fish products and earn money to sustain their livelihood.

Project Location

The fish processing facility is located at Obo Government station, Lake Murray LLG, Middle Fly Region. Fish buying points will also be situated in selected villages in the Central and Lower Middle Fly Villages with an estimated population of 12,250 people.



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