A PUBLIC lecture last week which discussed inshore fisheries management in Melanesia highlighted the important role of fish wardens in coastal community fishery management.
Speaker Dr Hugh Govan told The Fiji Times wardens provided a great service to the communities and members of the public and should therefore be paid for their work, either by the communities or by people who request their services.
"There has been quite a lot of discussion and it's a bit of a sensitive issue but essentially, the idea that a community could have a designated person that does have the authority to implement and enforce regulations is a very good idea.
"The situation at the moment is that they are not supported particularly well through the legislation, in other words, it's not clear what they would be enforcing.
"And secondly, they're not sure why they're doing it."
He said if members of the community bestowed a fish warden with the responsibilities of enforcing legislation, the communities should work out a way to pay the warden.
"They should be doing it because they're a member of a community that has got rights to its fishery they've been allocated by the State, government or by the people to look after it for their good and for our good, in which case, I think that because they get benefits from it, they should either be paid by the community or the tikina or the province.
"If the situation was different, if we were expecting them to do things for me, or for another government or the current government, then obviously the person requesting them to do these things should pay."