Fishermen raise concern

THE Lautoka Fishermen’s Association has expressed concern on the limited opening hours of the Lautoka Wharf fish market.

Association president Semi Radravu said they had been informed by a Fisheries Ministry official that the market would now be opened from 6am-8am and no longer 6am-10am.

Mr Radravu said the 6am-10am time slot had been allocated to cater for fishermen who docked late at the wharf.

“This area is for fishermen to scale their fish, determine prices and place their catch on the table to sell,” he said.

“But now when the opening hours have been reduced, fishermen are forced to sell their fish in the scorching heat.

“This reduces the quality of the fish.”

Mr Radravu said the market had been created because of the association’s request and it was unfair that the facility was closed early without any consultation.

“We have sewage water seeping into the market area and we have made complaints about it but nothing has happened.

“We have had to mop the area daily to create a clean environment for customers.

“This is the only way we earn money and having to close such a facility like indirectly cuts off a portion of our income because the quality of fish we sell deteriorates when we sell in the sun.

“We weren’t provided any explanation for the early closure and if this is going to be the norm then we would like some sort of explanation so we can inform our members.”

Fisheries Ministry permanent secretary Sanaila Naqali said he was not aware of the issue and would look into the matter.

“I am sure the officer would have had a valid reason for closing the market and we will liaise with our officer in the West about the issue,” he said.

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