NEWS

Seasonal Ban to end This Sunday 30th September, 2018

The seasonal ban on Grouper (Kawakawa) and Coral Trout (Donu) ends on the 30th of September and members of the public will be able to resume fishing, buying and selling
28 Sep 2018 15:15
Seasonal Ban to end This Sunday 30th September, 2018
Confiscated fish

The seasonal ban on Grouper (Kawakawa) and Coral Trout (Donu) ends on the 30th of September and members of the public will be able to resume fishing, buying and selling of the two species beginning Monday 1st October, 2018.

Minister for Fisheries, Mr.Semi Koroilavesau says that the ban has been effective in taking the first step towards better management of these important resources.

“The Government of Fiji demonstrated decisive leadership when undertaking 17 voluntary commitments to contribute to the protection and sustainable management of our ocean at the 2017 United Nations Ocean Conference,” said Mr Koroilavesau.

“One of these commitments was, of course, to seek to sustainably manage our grouper and coral trout resources by monitoring these fisheries, protecting spawning aggregations sites, as well as applying seasonal and spatial management measures.”

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He added that this is the first year of implementing an official ban on the harvest, sale and possession of these key species during their peak breeding season, and the outcome has been fruitful.

“We are very pleased with the support on the seasonal ban from the communities and people of Fiji along with partner agencies.”

“However, as with any new management measure, there have been some people that have been slower in adhering to the ban and we must all be aware that the sustainable management of our grouper and coral trout resources is not a quick fix. So we will be looking at working towards some form of management measures to ensure that these iconic species are allowed to replenish and are able to be enjoyed by Fijians for generations to come,” explained Mr Koroilavesau.

The ministry will continue to strongly advocate on the seasonal ban through consultations right through to enforcement.

The ministry also understands that there were a lot of questions raised on the timings of the ban in place.

According to Director of Fisheries, Mr. Aisake Batibasaga, the science behind the timing of the ban is very clear as we have undertaken the research since 2001 and worked with experts to conduct extensive interviews and research in a number of provinces in Fiji and confirmed this research by direct observation of the peak aggregation of these species within their actual aggregation sites across Lau, Kadavu and Lomaiviti.

“The Ministry of Fisheries therefore encourages those with different views on the ban or its timing to write up and publish their observations to enable further Fiji based scientific research to be incorporated in the scientific record and taken into consideration in future policy development,” he said.

Meanwhile, all confiscated fish have been stored in fisheries stations around the country and have been properly documented.

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Mr Batibasaga adds that the ministry needs to be careful about how it disposes of confiscated fish, to ensure compliance with any requirements stated in our legislation.

“Having accounted for the confiscated product through the entire process and ensured that we have complied with the requirements in our law, where possible, we will seek to dispose of the confiscated fish in ways that ensure some benefits flow back to the people of Fiji, such as using the fish to produce fish meal to support our community aquaculture hatcheries,” he explained.

The next seasonal ban on the two species will commence in June 2019.

 Source: Ministry of Fisheries

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