Fiji loses millions to illegal fishing

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    An estimated $600 million (US$300 million) is lost to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in the Pacific region every year.

    Fiji’s Permanent Secretary for Fisheries Pene Baleinabuli, said the country bears an estimated 40 percent of the loss.

    Baleinabuli said these activities rob Fiji of development opportunities.

    “Right now, there is an estimation of maybe $200million-$300million (US$100 – US$150 million). That is the estimate based on the size of our EEZ”

    Baleinabuli said trying to monitor our Exclusive Economic Zone is still a challenge.

    “We are people or nations of big ocean states. It means our EEZ is quite huge. We are yet to fully develop the capacity to monitor our EEZ.”

    Dr Matthew Camilleri, the Head of the Fishing Operations and Technology Branch of the Fisheries and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the UN, has commended Fiji’s efforts to address these illegal activities by staging a workshop to better equip stakeholders.

    “It’s not frequent that you find that there is a country that is as committed as Fiji to make sure that the provisions are implemented.”

    Various stakeholders from the fisheries sector are currently convening for a three-day workshop to discuss the implementation of the 2009 Fisheries and Agriculture Organisation Agreement on port state measures.

    SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS