7 Nov 2003

Fiji fishing industry gives officials clear message over declining catch

4:48 pm on 7 November 2003

The managing director of the Fiji Fish Company, Graham Southwick, says it's time for the government to make the right decisions to save the local fishing industry.

Mr Southwick says the government has been told that far too many boats are fishing for far too few fish in Fiji's waters.

The concerns have been discussed at a tuna management conference in Suva.

Fiji tuna companies say they want the number of licenses to be cut from the current 110 to the South Pacific Community-recommended figure of 55 boats.

Mr Southwick says the industry struggles because officials give foreign fishing vessels free reign in Fiji waters to the detriment of local companies...

"We know what's causing the problem. It's only now for the government to accept that there is a problem and to work on a solution that gives the industry a chance to get back. Unfortunately that's not the case. We are arguing against people who are defending their position and have a different agenda, so it's going to be an uphill battle."

The managing director of the Fiji Fish Company, Graham Southwick.