4 Nov 2003

Fiji tuna industry urges government to save businessses

4:19 pm on 4 November 2003

Fiji's tuna industry is giving the government until Friday to come up with measures to save the businesses.

The industry says it is facing a crisis, with 50 licensed boats tied up and fishing companies warning of closures.

A meeting of government officials, industry representatives and regional organisation has got underway in Suva, aimed at reviewing the country's Tuna Management Plan.

But the managing director of the Fiji Fish Company, Graham Southwick, says it must be turned into an emergency meeting:

"We've said there is no time to have more plans, more consultations - it's time for decisions and we need a decision by Friday because half the fleet is already tied up, the other half is about to be tied up."

Mr Southwick says the government must cut the number of licenses from more than 100 to 55 and it must prevent illegal fishing by stopping foreign vessels from off loading their catches in Fiji.