29 Nov 2010

Exporter says new fish levy a boost for Fiji's fishing industry

7:08 pm on 29 November 2010

A fish exporter in Fiji, Graham Southwick, says he's looking to invest more money and employ more people following changes to taxes on the fishing industry.

The interim government has introduced a levy of 185 US dollars per tonne on fish brought in to Fiji for trans - shipment purposes and it's exempted fish caught on the high seas for export from sales tax.

Mr Southwick says the changes should encourage more local processing of fish caught near or in Fiji waters by mostly Taiwanese fishing vessels and it could mean sixty more jobs at his company, Fiji Fish.

"Not only our plant but the other five as well are basically shut down by ten o'clock in the morning having processed from maybe six o'clock through til ten o'clock and then we're out of raw material and with this new initiative hopefully we'll be able to put on a lot more people and work longer shifts and get benefits not only to us but to the whole country."

Graham Southwick doesn't believe the levy will encourage foreign fishing vessels to go elsewhere as Fiji provides a good base for boat maintenance and crews' recreation.