DIVERS need to have certified licenses approved by the Fisheries Minister in order to use gas for diving, says divisional fisheries officer Northern Gerald Billings.
In applying for a licence, Mr Billings said divers would go through the normal procedure of qoliqoli (traditional fishing rights) licence application, beginning from qoliqoli owners to provincial council offices and other government departments. However, if divers want to use gas then their licences would go to the minister for approval provided the diver has attended special dive training.
"When the qoliqoli owners approve such applications, it will be directed to the Labour Ministry for exemption," Mr Billings said.
"It will then be sent to Suva for assessment and if their applications meet our conditions, it will be certified by authorities."
Mr Billings said it was illegal for divers to use gas without the approval of relevant authorities.
Application for qoliqoli licences without the use of gas would remain with the divisional commissioner's offices and Fisheries Department.
Meanwhile, Mr Billings said poaching continued in parts of Vanua Levu and the latest case they received was from Bua.
"One case was reported from Bua on Wednesday and we are concerned because this is becoming prevalent.
"With this poaching activity, business for our fishing licence holders will be affected as poachers take whatever they can from the qoliqoli through illegal fishing practices and we are doing everything we can to monitor the situation."
Villagers from Nadi in Kubulau District last week raised their concern over depleting stock of fish in their qoliqoli.