8 May 2003

Fiji tuna fishermen again warn against overfishing

7:26 am on 8 May 2003

Fiji's indigenous Tuna Boat Owners Association has called on the government to reduce the number of foreign fishing boats because they pose a threat to the industry.

The Association's spokesman, Aminio Nauvalulevu, has told the Fiji Times that recently the ministry of fisheries decided to reduce the number of foreign vessels from 150 to 90.

Mr Nauvalulevu says this was an admission of overfishing and the previous allowable level was unsustainable.

He says the Association wants the number of vessels further reduced because the future of the tuna industry cannot be guaranteed.

Mr Naivalulevu says the Chinese, Korean and Taiwanese cannot be allowed to benefit from Fiji's tuna resources on the excuse that locals cannot run their own boats and processing plants.

He says at least 55 vessels should be reserved for local fishermen.