NATION

Ministry Keeps Close Watch On Coastal Fish Stocks

  Minister for Fisheries Semi Koroilavesau says that monitoring the activities to protect fisheries resources along coastal areas was an on-going issue. He confirmed that his ministry was keeping a
17 Mar 2018 10:00
Ministry Keeps Close Watch On Coastal Fish Stocks
Minister for Fisheries and Oceans Champions Semi Koroilavesau. Photo: Jone Luvenitoga

 

Minister for Fisheries Semi Koroilavesau says that monitoring the activities to protect fisheries resources along coastal areas was an on-going issue.

He confirmed that his ministry was keeping a close watch on this. Mr Koroilavesau said it was important to identify the status of resources within any fishery before any consideration of harvest was allowed.

He said to address this, the Research Inventory Team within the fisheries ministry had been conducting site surveys in different areas over the past years.

He said the findings indicated that there were different levels of available stock that existed within coastal iqoliqoli areas. An example given were the scientific findings in Viti Levu compared to other isolated islands, including Vanua Levu.

“While Viti Levu is the main urban centre that generates the most demands, the resource availability comparison indicate that most fish species sold at urban centres are either from isolated islands or are sourced from Vanua Levu.

“The reason for this is the mere fact that coastal areas close to urban centres are either being overfished or overexploited due to the increase in urban demand,” he said.

Mr Koroilavesau said mitigating solutions which were implemented were to help bring back depleted coastal stocks. A legislative review, Mr Koroilavesau said was an on-going work being carried out to make changes to the current coastal legislation.

“While we recognise the urgency to address depleted stocks, having a supportive legislation will allow us to implement conservation and management measures for coastal resources,” the minister said.

In particular, the work done to review size limits and restrictions on protected species is one that needs changes in legislation, he said.

On the current Fisheries Act, the only size limit on crustacean or invertebrates is for mud crabs.

Other species such as reef and mud lobsters, land and coconut crabs, octopus, clams, fresh water muscles, do not have size restriction limits.

He said while Regulation 18 of the current Fisheries Act, sets out size limits for fin fish, there were no provisions available to protect these species when they were most vulnerable.

“This in particular is during spawning season and in previous months there have been announcements made and initiatives discussed on two species that are most vulnerable during their spawning period.

He said the months starting from June to September, these species congregate within the reef system to spawn and it was sad thing that overharvesting had resulted in the decline in numbers in many coastal areas.

“To help prevent this, legislative consultations are being finalised to legally ban the harvest including the sale of threatened species of kawakawa and donu during the spawning season.

“This is in addition to the protection of other threatened marine species such as turtles, hump head wrasse, beache-de-mer and giant clams,’’ Mr Koroilavesau said.

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa



Five Square diwali dhamaka 2021


Get updates from the Fiji Sun, handpicked and delivered to your inbox.


By entering your email address you're giving us permission to send you news and offers. You can opt-out at any time.


Tower Insurance
FNPF
Covid 19 - SPC
Fiji Sun Instagram
Subscribe-to-Newspaper