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Tuna impact

Dawn Gibson
Tuesday, January 21, 2014

FIJI'S struggling tuna industry has resulted in even more job losses. This time for Solander Pacific Limited which recently laid off 20 per cent of its 400 workers.

This was confirmed by the company's general manager, Radhika Kumar.

"We've already tied up half our fleet and we've also started sending people home. We employ about 400 people and we've had about 20 per cent reductions straight away. That's about 80 people," Mrs Kumar said yesterday.

"The situation is really bad just because of overfishing and it's not only Fiji, it's the whole of the South Pacific."

This makes Solander the second fishing company in the past month which has had to lay off a large portion of its staff members because of the tuna dilemma — Fiji Fish Marketing Group had to lay off more than 150 employees last week because of this very same issue.

This has also led to the tying up of more than half of the Solander fleet, leaving only six of its vessels to fish the seas.

The other seven vessels have been tied up and are currently not in use.

"There are simply too many boats fishing, you can imagine a pie — you can share with four people or with 10 people.

"We have lost a lot of money just because of our situation —we're having to go to the bank to borrow money and that's how we're surviving at the moment."

Mrs Kumar also explained that the company recently lost two of their licences, which did not help their current situation.

"We're not happy about that, we shouldn't be getting this cut because Solander is the only company which has got all their fishing boats on the EU approved list.

"It's a very stringent list of things that you have to consider and upgrade your vessel to get to the EU standard and we shouldn't have received the cut."

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