31 Oct 2005

Fiji draft legislation over foreshore and seabed closer to becoming law says lobby group

1:15 pm on 31 October 2005

Hotel and resort owners in Fiji can expect to make payments to traditional landowners for tourists using the beaches when the draft foreshore legislation becomes law.

The legislation proposes to hand back ownership of the foreshore, from the high water mark on the land right out to the reefs, to the vanua or tribes, from the state.

The president of the Fiji Tourism Resource Owners' Association, Ratu Osea Gavidi, says boundaries are being drawn up for all 300 odd islands which will create 410 qoliqili areas, or customary tribal fishing areas.

Ratu Osea says this includes 50 tourism sites and while payments are currently made for the land that hotels are on, no money is handed over for the use of the beaches.


IN: Business concerns in the tourism industry, in particular, have been using the qoliqoli freely. And, when the resource owners, or customary owners have seen that, there's been a lot of noise created because of the over-use and abuse of the qoliqoli.

DUR: 17

Ratu Osea says the traditional landowners want to restore degraded sites while maintaining pristine areas.

He is hoping that the draft legislation will be passed before next year's elections.