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Derelict vessels a harbour eyesore

Solomone Rabulu
Thursday, February 01, 2018

DERELICT vessels around the Suva area are greatly affecting the marine resources of the iqoliqoli, says iqoliqoli owners' representative, Uraia Rabakele.

Mr Rabakele, who hails from Waiqanake Village, said a small part of the iqoliqoli situated along the Suva Harbour was registered under their yavusa Navukavu, which consisted of four villages outside Lami.

"These are Muaivuso, Waiqanake, Nabaka and Ucuinamono villages," Mr Rabakele said.

"We have been trying to raise this issue with the relevant authorities having made our submission at our district and provincial level meetings for many years now, but it seems no one cares about our plea as iqoliqoli owners.

"We have lost most of our marine resources because of these derelict vessels that have been here for many years, and as you can see, there are newer vessels that are being left idle here too.

"I used to come to these iqoliqoli areas with my grandfather when I was a little child.

"This area used to be so rich with marine life. The fish stocks were in abundance, crabs and mud crabs were so readily available and the sea was so fresh and clean.

"We are struggling now. It's so hard to visit our mangroves for mud crabs and the fact that we need to go further out to sea in order to fish.

"These derelict vessels bring us nothing but death to our marine resources and I don't know when the relevant authorities will wake up and hear our plea."

Mr Rabakele said it was good to see mangrove plants growing along their shoreline again.

"A huge proportion of mangroves died here few years back and it was caused by oil spills from vessels that usually capsized around our iqoliqoli area here," he said.

"We are already facing problems with our marine economy now. What we are more worried about is what we would have left for our future generation.

"Would they have to go much further out at sea, further then where we are fishing today?

"What would happen if they pointed fingers at us for not being able to do our best in managing our resources wisely? How am I supposed to tell them that we tried raising our issues to authorities, but nothing was done during our time?"








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