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Too many fishing boats

Dawn Gibson
Monday, February 17, 2014

THERE are simply too many ships fishing within Fiji waters for too little tuna stocks.

This was the message Radhika Kumar, a representative of the Fiji Tuna Boat Owners Association who was a panelist at last week's public lecture on Fiji's tuna industry.

Mrs Kumar, who is also the general manager of Solander Pacific Limited, said the association would like to see more action taken to create a more even field for locally-owned vessels and those which were highly-subsidised.

"The fundamental problem is that there are too many boats chasing too little fish and that situation is getting worse despite the warning form the science community," Mrs Kumar said.

"These vessels are very heavily-subsidised, so every day we go to sea, the vessel alongside us are getting as much as $US1000 ($F1884) a day in fuel subsidy alone."

She said while the association welcomed initiatives by the Fiji Government to help ease the strain on locally-owned vessels, more was needed to be done.

"The Fiji vessel is totally unsubsidised and to ease our situation in Fiji, the government has reduced the licences. But as you are all aware, tuna is a very highly migratory species, so Fiji should now go to our neighbouring countries such as Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Tuvalu and ask them to do the same."

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