THE Fisheries Department in the North has reminded farmers to cultivate and farm 10 metres away from river banks according to the conditions set out under the National Sustainable Land Use Plan.
Principal fisheries officer Northern Joji Vakawaletabua said farmers also needed to practise conservative farming methods, taking into account the different organisms that depended on the freshwater ecosystem.
Mr Vakawaletabua was responding to concerns by residents of Naqara and Somosomo on Taveuni regarding the depletion of food sources in the creek in the area.
Naqara resident Miliakere Misimoa said in the past, the creek used to be a stable source of freshwater food.
"Women from Somosomo and Naqara would catch prawns along this creek for their families or even sell them but there was never a shortage of prawns and eels," she said.
"Recently, we have noticed that the river has gone barren and all the prawns and food source that we used to find in abundance have vanished."