7 Jan 2004

Fiji's Fisheries Minister says licensing changes aimed at increasing Fijian involvement

8:28 am on 7 January 2004

Fiji-based fishing companies will be required to have a majority indigenous ownership if they want to fish in the country's rich archipelago waters.

The archipelago is the water from the seashore to the outer reefs of each island, and is regarded as being subject to customary fishing rights under an upcoming native fishing rights Act.

The fisheries minister, Konisi Yabaki, says the new ownership requirement is a move to include more indigenous people in the profitable fishing industry.

Mr Yabaki says whatever the makeup of their ownership, only vessels less than 20-metres long will be allowed to fish in the archipelago, because larger vessels deplete marine life in tourist areas.