Coastal and offshore fisheries play a significantly vital role in food security and socio-economic development not only for our rural, isolated, and maritime communities but for the nation as a whole.
With the ongoing threat of over-fishing and constant poaching in our waters, the Ministry of Fisheries and the Republic of Fiji Navy have been carrying out joint operations to address these issues.
A four-day operation last weekend was conducted in the Western Division where 33 boardings and inspections were carried out.
Infringements identified during the operation were mainly on licensing issues as well as fishing in areas not listed in their respective licenses.
Director for Fisheries, Ms. Mere Lakeba says that it is important that all fisher folks fishing for the purpose of trade acquire a fishing license and strictly adhere to the conditions of the specific license.
“If you have been issued a license by the Ministry, there are several conditions that are clearly stated and these entail the area of application for the license, where you are legally allowed to harvest or take fish for the purpose of business or trade,” explained Ms. Lakeba.
“Fishermen are also reminded to have their licenses with them during fishing expeditions as this is mandatory in case you are approached by authorised enforcement officers.”
The ministry also wishes to thank all fisherfolk who have been compliant over the years and hopes that adherence to fisheries laws will be maintained for years to come.
The successful joint operation is not the first for both organisations as over the years, they have worked together to try and raise the level of awareness and deterrence of illegal fishing activities happening out at sea.
There will be continued engagements between the Ministry and the Republic of Fiji Navy which will certainly elevate awareness on the sustainable management of species and ecosystems for our future generations.
Ensuring the sustainable use of our marine resources by closing potential loopholes for destructive fishing practices, overfishing and illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing in Fiji fisheries waters is not only the mandate of fisheries enforcement agencies but a responsibility of all Fijians.