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Minister tells tale of marine life contamination

Mere Naleba
Thursday, February 01, 2018

FISH and shellfish in the Suva Harbour are the most contaminated in Fiji, said Minister for Fisheries Semi Koroilavesau.

Mr Koroilavesau said the contributing factors were harbour operations as well as derelict vessels submerged in the harbour.

Mr Koroilavesau is aware the Fiji Ports Corporation Ltd (FPCL) working round-the-clock to remove derelict vessels in the harbour and said it was an expensive exercise.

"If you go and research the subject you will find that fish and seashell fish in the Suva Harbour are one of the most polluted in Fiji, basically because of the harbour operations because of the number of vessels that operate in it and also mainly due to the vessels that have been abandoned by the owners," he said.

Mr Koroilavesau said while derelict vessels were a historic subject it was important to have them removed because they affected the quality of water around Suva Harbour.

"This is a historical subject because derelict vessels have been there for quite some time," he said.

"Of course it's affecting the quality of water around the Suva Harbour, I think USP is very aware of that they were the ones that alluded that to us."

Mr Koroilavesau said one of the most underlying problems was vessel owners abandoning ships in the harbour.

"One of the biggest issues in dealing with the vessels is most of the owners have basically abandoned them, so it's a huge responsibility mainly for the FPCL in trying to trace the owners," he said.

"Some businesses have basically gone out of trade and some companies have found that its uneconomical to take the vessel and all they do is anchor the vessel or tie it up somewhere and they go away, it's cheaper for them that way."

Mr Koroilavesau said the Fiji Navy had removed two derelict fishing vessels after it was contracted by FPCL because it was the cheapest option.

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