29 Jul 2008

Fiji tuna fishing industry near collapse

1:11 pm on 29 July 2008

Fiji Fish Marketing Group Limited says the country's tuna longline fishing industry is on the verge of collapse.

Its managing director Graham Southwick says he's been lobbying governments for years about the impact of extra taxes imposed by the Minister of Finance on an industry that's already struggling with rising fuel prices and the cost of getting fish to market.

He says it's becoming more and more difficult to compete alongside foreign fleets who pay no tariffs.

Mr Southwick says unless the interim government acts, the industry will close.

"We have warned them now for the last time. We've put many submissions up to them and just recently in the last few days we've said this is it guys. The shutdown is only a matter of days away now and if we don't get a reaction within the next 7 to 8 days, or some sign that they are going to do something about it, then we'll have no choice."

Fiji Fish Marketing Group Limited's managing director, Graham Southwick