25 Oct 2005

Criticism of Fiji government's proposed fishing grounds law

11:25 am on 25 October 2005

There's been strong criticism of the Fiji government's proposed "qoliqoli" legislation or laws covering traditional indigenous fishing grounds.

The Fiji Times reports that the criticism has come from the ANZ Banking Group's managing director Pacific, Bob Lyons, who is also the president of the Australia-Fiji Business Council.

Mr Lyons says the proposed legislation will have a significant impact on Fiji's tourism industry but it would not solve Fiji's problems.

Mr Lyons says the law is a smokescreen aimed at satisfying a small group of agitators.

He says Fiji's problems are more likely to be solved and the aims of such agitators achieved in a sustainable manner through a concerted effort to grow the economy.

Mr Lyons says the process of dialogue which has been going on with stakeholders is of critical importance and must be continued in good faith by all parties.

Even before the fishing grounds legislation has become law, many owners of the foreshore have been demanding and getting payments from hotels and resorts for their use of these waters by tourists.