Plea to increase poaching penalty

POACHING can only be stopped if the fine is increased.

Villagers on maritime islands in the North shared this view with the Assistant Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, Joeli Cawaki when he visited them last week with a government team.

Speaking on behalf of the fish wardens on the island of Kia in Macuata, Kemueli Lautiki said handling poachers had not been easy.

There have been confrontational discussions with poachers, he said, thus the need to increase penalty.

“There should be a reasonable penalty given to them so they can stop,” Mr Lautiki said.

Mr Lautiki said the penalty given to fishermen for illegal fishing was very low.

“The penalty of $100 to $300 is very low and they can fish today, get caught, pay their fine and fish again,” he said.

Mr Lautiki said they were doing their best to conserve the marine ecosystem for future use.

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