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Fiji annually earns about $200 million (US$100 million) from inshore fisheries and this is under threat from illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, says deputy secretary for Ministry of Fisheries and Forests, Sanaila Naqali.
Naqali made the comments at the handing over of US$74, 710 (FJ$154, 280) worth of grant aid equipment under the 2016 Ocean Aid Project to the Ministry of Fisheries from the Korea Overseas Fisheries Cooperation Agency
He said inshore fisheries was a major revenue earner for the country and with more than 60 per cent of the population living in coastal areas who were engaged in the sector, livelihoods were at stake from poachers and illegal fishing.
“We have come across such cases and even if they are minor cases, they do exist and that is the threat. We would like to control it but we do not have the capacity and that is where the equipment from the Korean government will help us,” he said.
The equipment includes motor bikes, fibreglass boat, computers and laptops, to name a few.
“Recently the Ministry of Fisheries has launched the new 'Set Size' Campaign in Fiji.
“Introducing size limits for fish is the focus of this campaign which targets consumers and fishermen alike,” he said.
Naqali said the campaign aimed to stop the decline of inshore fisheries by encouraging people to avoid catching, selling, buying or consuming undersized fish.
“A broad coalition of partners will be working with the ministry to create awareness among Fijians about the sizes fish need to reach to ensure they are breeding and replenishing fish stocks year on year.
“And it is only timely for the ministry to receive the boat and engine for our inshore fisheries monitoring control and surveillance. This will be of great assistance for the ministry in making its presence felt in the coastal communities.”
Naqali said while conservation and sustainability of fisheries resource remains the top priority, the Fisheries Department also supported an economically prosperous fishery that could improve competitiveness and invest in conservation measures and activities.
Republic of Korea Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries assistant director international cooperation division, Lee Young-hoon said the MOF has executed aid project for developing coastal states and Fiji has cooperated on this project since 2012.
SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS
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