Ministry focuses on coastal fishing

SINCE becoming an independent entity, the Fisheries Ministry has shifted its focus to issues which need urgent attention and one of the priority areas is coastal fishing.

Speaking in Parliament recently, Fisheries Minister Semi Koroilavesau said coastal fisheries was integral to a significant number of people.

“For every Fijian, marine resources derived from our coastal fisheries have been part of our culture and tradition,” he said.

“It defines our way of living and links us to the undocumented history of our past.”

Mr Koroilavesau said the ministry had reviewed work in progress in the fisheries sector to identify critical areas that needed to be addressed.

He said through the review, it was understood that offshore fisheries resources of tuna and tuna-like species were well-covered through robust management measures but coastal fisheries resources had been overlooked.

“It has been identified that one of the reasons is the fact that coastal resources fall under the areas of total sovereignty.

“This means that how Fiji chooses to exploit resources within these areas is entirely up to the priorities and demands of Fiji as a sovereign state.”

He said a challenging role was identifying the best option to choose when considering socioeconomic development, against the importance of sustainable resource management.

Mr Koroilavesau said the ministry had identified that changes needed to be made in the legislative review.