NATION

Fisheries Wardens Request Stricter Punishments For Illegal Fishing

  Fisheries wardens on the island of Kia in Macuata are calling on Government to impose stricter punishment for illegal fishing. In an interview with Yaro Village fisheries warden, Kemueli
22 Oct 2016 11:00
Fisheries Wardens Request Stricter Punishments For Illegal Fishing
(Left)Assistant Minister for Provincial Development Joeli Cawaki and the Turaga ni Koro Ligau and Daku Orisi Vukicanavanua leading the Government Delegation on Kia Island on Tuesday. Photo: JOSAIA RALAGO

 

Fisheries wardens on the island of Kia in Macuata are calling on Government to impose stricter punishment for illegal fishing.

In an interview with Yaro Village fisheries warden, Kemueli Lautiki said this was after numerous scuffles and confrontations with illegal fishermen on their fishing grounds.

“The penalty right now is very low which is from $100 to $300. They can fish today, get caught, pay their fine and fish again,” Mr Lautiki said.

“There should be a reasonable penalty so they can stop.”

He said what agitated them most was the fact that while they did their best to preserve their marine ecosystem, illegal fishermen had gotten away with all kinds of banned fishing methods banned.

“Just two years ago, another fish warden and I were involved in a brawl against some men whom we had caught fishing illegally here,” Mr Lautiki said.

“After we had chased them, they then met us in Labasa where they retaliated through a fist fight challenge. We fought and then later got fined.

“This is our main source of income and daily survival. We are therefore asking Government to introduce harsher penalties for illegal fishing.”

He added that a team from the island had visited one of the nearby communities after some of their men were caught fishing illegally in their fishing grounds.

“Sometimes it is not the foreigners who are involved, but our relatives and neighbours. We had visited the village and advised them to refrain from such acts.

The Assistant Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management Joeli Cawaki said they would look into the issue with other relevant authorities.

He assured them that this was one of the matters that they would be addressing when they return to Suva. Villages on Kia Island include Daku, Ligau and Yaro.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: josaia.ralago@fijisun.com.fj

 

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