10 Dec 2003

Fiji's fisheries minister says action will be taken to reduce licences

6:14 am on 10 December 2003

Fiji's Minister of Fisheries says there will be a reduction in the number of fishing licences issued but it's unlikely to be to the level the industry is calling for.

Konisi Yabaki says there's no doubt fishermen are facing tough times.

But he says the lower catch levels of tuna, which is a highly migratory fish, are due to cooler weather not overfishing.

He says calls for foreign fishing boats to be kicked out of Fiji's exclusive economic zone have been made to further the industry's own interests.

Mr Yabaki says they will decide shortly what sort of reduction in the licenses there should be.

"Maybe not as far as 65 ,but definitely I think there may have to be some reduction. The final decision will have to be taken by government and I can only say that there is no doubt that we may have to reduce the licenses but how far is an issue that we are still now analysing."