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'Poachers aware of patrols'

Luke Rawalai
Friday, February 23, 2018

REPORTS have surfaced that poachers flee the qoliqoli areas in the North in the nick of time to escape the navy patrol boats.

Villagers of Mali in Macuata claim that information on navy patrols carried out on Vanua Levu waters were always disclosed to villagers and poachers before operations started.

Speaking during a talanoa session with the Minister for Forests Osea Naiqamu on Tuesday afternoon, Tui Mali Ratu Meli Bogiso said villagers had always been warned about these patrols with calls received from coastal villagers of Bua, even before the operation starts.

Ratu Meli said it was always strange to find poachers missing from Vanua Levu waters during the patrols.

Ratu Meli told Mr Naiqamu there was a possibility of a mole that cautions poachers beforehand. He said this was why navy patrols for poachers were never successful on Vanua Levu waters.

"This is something serious that needs to be looked into because we here in the Mali district are serious about conserving our marine protected areas," he said.

Responding to these concerns, Mr Naiqamu said he would look into the matter and speak to the department concerned. Ratu Meli also suggested if navy officers who hail from Vanua Levu be excluded from the patrols in the Northern waters. Mali district representative Seru Moce said poachers were becoming more advanced, adding that villagers needed to be equipped with the latest apparatus to deal with them.

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