Qoliqoli owners address poaching

MACUATA paramount chief Ratu Wiliame Katonivere believes poaching can be addressed if the Ministry of Fisheries works closely with fishermen.

In responding to Fisheries Minister Semi Koroilavesau’s comment that monitoring would be heightened to combat poaching, Ratu Wiliame said the announcement was positive.

“I applaud the very positive comment from the new Minister for Fisheries and on that stance, we the traditional qoliqoli owners in Macuata are ready to support him in addressing those issues,” he said.

Ratu Wiliame said there had been some misinterpretations about the issue of poaching.

“The only way one is charged is through the court and more awareness should be done to avoid this,” he said.

“There should be identification or a mark placed on every licence to identify which areas a certain fishermen are supposed to fish in.

Ratu Wiliame said a lot of licence owners tended to violate the conditions of their licence.

In an earlier report by this newspaper, Kemueli Lautiki, a villager of Kia Island in Macuata who spoke on behalf of fish wardens, said handling poachers was not easy.

He said there had been confrontations with poachers which prompted the need to increase the corresponding penalty.

He said there should be a deterrent penalty given to poachers so they could stop.

Nakawaga Village headman on Mali Island Jone Ravoto said they had been preserving their qoliqoli for their future use, but poaching was one of the main reasons they could not.

Mr Ravoto said when illegal fishermen go out at night, they end up damaging the coral and they steal from the resources within protected areas.

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