DESPITE being declared a marine protected area, a group of villagers in Bua have been told by the Fisheries Department marine stocks in their qoliqoli have dropped according to a survey.
The Tui Nadi of Kubulau, Ratu Peni Rasigare said the survey results were a concern.
"Our marine conservation began in 1999 and since then we have been facing many difficulties especially in policing the MPAs," said Ratu Peni.
"Many people within the Kubulau district are poaching in the MPAs and it is really sad. We have only one boat in operation to police the MPAs and it is really hard to keep track of poachers."
Ratu Peni said the Kubulau MPAs covered 33 per cent of their qoliqoli apart from the 30 per cent that was planned for MPAs by the World Conservation Society.
Northern fisheries officer Gerald Billings confirmed they carried out a survey of the Kubulau MPA and concluded that fish stocks and other marine life were depleted.
Kubulau Resource Management Committee chairman Paolo Kolikata said the issue regarding the Kubulau MPA had to be settled through a joint agreement between the resource owners and other parties within the fishing ground owning units.
"Since poachers are mainly from the Kubulau area there is a need to review the consent of all parties who jointly own the fishing grounds," said Mr Kolikata.
"If they can stop local people from fishing in the MPAs then the problem of policing it shouldn't be a problem. The World Conservation Society only facilities conservation programs by providing training to resource owners and other exercises to ensure the MPAs achieve their core goal of conserving marine resources in the area," he said.