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Minister: Watch over EEZ

Alisi Vucago
Tuesday, April 18, 2017

IT is imperative to stay alert and keep a close watch over our exclusive economic zone (EEZ), says Minister for Fisheries Semi Koroilavesau.

He said monitoring our territorial waters was imperative to not only monitor illegal fishing, but also other activities including the trafficking of drugs and weapons.

"We need to plan for the future and secure our expansion in fisheries, especially our source of raw materials for canning and value adding as a lot of our people are employed in this sector," he said.

"Fiji works closely with Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and Pacific Community (SPC) to monitor and assist Pacific by maritime surveillance aircraft from our neighbours," he said.

"We also have our observers onboard that licensed fishing vessels and these vessels also carry monitoring equipment onboard."

Mr Koroilavesau said Fiji had licensed 60 offshore fishing vessels mainly for tuna and other migratory species.

"Our total allowable catch (TAC) is 12,000 metric tonnes per year and we have not surpassed that figure," he said.

"We have been quite strict by standard of all Pacific countries."

On the other hand, he said there was also a concern for blue boats which fish illegally around the Pacific, but they have not reached as far as Fiji yet.

He added Fiji's EEZ and monitoring control and surveillance (MCS) are carried out in a partnership with government agencies, regional and subregional organisations that assist in our standing agreements.

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