Queries on access fees

District representatives in Bua discuss issues during the Bua Provincial Council meeting at Naulumatua House. Picture: LUKE RAWALAI

WORK on the implementation of the new fisheries access fees will be completed by the end of next month. Speaking at the Bua Provincial Council meeting yesterday, Bua fisheries officer Tomasi Cama said the ministry had extended permits from last year to operate until March this year.

However, because of review work being carried out on the proposed fees, Mr Cama said licences had to be extended until the end of next month.

“I understand that the proposed fees is still with the office of the Solicitor-General and it is yet to be gazetted,” he said.

“We had received a few permits and have issued a few licences. “However, we have an understanding with the licence holders that they will pay the new fees once it comes into force after the end of next month.”

Mr Cama was responding to queries raised by Bua district representative, Wale Robanalagi, who said at the meeting that traditional fishing owners were still waiting for the new access fees to be enforced.

Mr Robanalagi said the last they heard about the fees was when it was brought to the council during a consultation.

In March this year, Minister for Fisheries Semi Koroilavesau said the proposed fees of $100 to $150 for small-scale fishers had been reduced to $5.50.

Mr Koroilavesau had also said that part of the delay in the consultation of fisheries licence fees was the fact that the proposed fees had to be reviewed.

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