NEWS

Attorney-General: Government Decided Not to Relocate PAFCO

Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said keeping PAFCO in Ovalau was commercially not the best place to be, but the Government would support it to be there.
15 May 2019 15:38
Attorney-General: Government Decided Not to Relocate PAFCO
Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum yesterday clarified why the Government decided not to relocate Pacific Fishing Company (PAFCO) in Ovalau on Levuka to Suva.

Shifting the whole operations to Suva was a proposal made by the PAFCO board and Bumble Bee Foods.

Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said keeping PAFCO in Ovalau was commercially not the best place to be, but the Government would support it to be there.

He said even though it would be a lot more sustainable to do so, it would also be an enormous socio-economic implication and employment opportunities would have been missed out in the Lomaiviti Group.

“We made the decision for the relocation not to take place,” he said.

He added that the Government works to ensure that the economic environment in the Lomaiviti Group stays buoyant, which goes to prove that there were certain commercial imperatives that need to be met when looking from a commercial perspective.

Meanwhile, the whole idea behind moving the entire operations to Suva was because most of the ships come to Suva which was an additional cost for PAFCO in terms of transportation.

Commenting on the depletion of Tuna stocks, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said it was because of overfishing.

“At one point in time we have shipping coming all the way from Spain into our waters to fish,” he said.

He added that in some Pacific Islands, the overseas fleets would come along and sit at the border of its marine reserve and they throw bait to lure the fish out of the marine Reserve, catch them take them away.

These were some of the challenges that the industry was facing, which was resulting in the depletion of tuna.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum further added that the Government had put some measures in place including some grants.

He said what most ships do was, they fish around Fiji waters, come to Suva and then have their mother ships waiting here, so they transfer the fish into the mother ship and they take it away.

“These fish would not hit our books; it will not put any contribution towards our GDP.”

The Government had imposed a levy and now fishing boats prefer selling the fish to PAFCO rather than paying for the levy.

Edited by Susana Tuilau

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