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Poachers lose all

Serafina Silaitoga
Monday, March 17, 2014

FISHERMEN and divers couldn't escape the spotlights of a navy boat as it patrolled the qoliqoli of Cakaudrove, Bua and Macuata last week.

Gas cylinders, fishing equipment, outboard boats and whatever the fishermen caught from the sea were apprehended as a result of the patrol.

Navy Captain Alfred Fox labelled the patrol as a success.

"We were out for three weeks and our patrol was because we received a lot of complaints from the villagers in Bua and Macuata about poaching activities," he said.

"From the district of Mali to Dreketi in Macuata, reports of poaching have been brought to our attention and when we conducted our patrol, we came across a lot of cases.

"There were some people fishing without licences and we confiscated their sea catches. Some didn't have proper safety equipment on board their boats."

Captain Fox said some divers didn't meet the requirements and conditions outlined for divers.

"So we took in 26 cylinders, two outboard boats and fish and sea slugs from the fishermen," he said.

"We also noticed that some came out to catch fish for their families but because they caught a lot, they remained out at sea to get even more for the market.

"But they did not have any proper fishing licences so we took the fish away from them."

Captain Fox said another common problem was having licence holders illegally lease their licences out to other fishermen to use.

"We noticed that one fishing licence holder from Labasa gave his licence to other fishermen to use while he remained in Labasa," he said.

"That is not legal and right so he will also be dealt with. All the confiscated items were handed over to the Ministry of Fisheries.

"We are advising fishermen to abide by the law and obtain proper licences."

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