19 Feb 2009

Conservationist says fishing ground owners "worried" at extortion allegations

6:04 pm on 19 February 2009

A conservationist liaising with traditional owners of fishing grounds in the Ba area of Fiji's main island says they're "very worried" about false allegations of extortion.

It's alleged that villagers of Votua in Ba are demanding payment of 300 US dollars before any rights to fish are granted.

The interim Prime Minster says that laws and regulations pertaining to the use of fishing grounds are straightforward and once a licence and permission is obtained from the Government no other charges apply.

But Fio White Tuaai says there've always been commercial agreements between fishing ground owners and fishers and allegations of extortion in Votua are misleading.

"There's been quite a commotion of people talking about this. So they would like to see if they can have a word with the Prime Minister or whoever works in the paper, whoever put this in the paper. They'd just like to get their message across, because they're quite worried about what was written in the papers"

Fio White Tuaai says there are a lot of fisherman who have been overfishing in the Ba area.