21 Mar 2011

Fiji fish company boss doubts viability of EU exports resuming

6:25 am on 21 March 2011

The head of the Fiji Fish Company says while an audit that paves the way for exports to the EU to resume has generated excitement in Fiji, whether it's worth meeting the conditions the EU's imposed remains doubtful.

Graham Southwick says the EU's cleared the Fiji authorities to monitor and sign off on exports, a task for which it deemed them incompetent about three years ago.

However he says the EU hasn't cleared fisheries exporters themselves and it's asked them to fulfill an extensive list of conditions.

"Now they're talking about having to upgrade not only the factories, they want to upgrade the boats and then they want to upgrade the trucks and they're saying you know where is the thing going to end really, upgrading the airport or the aircraft, where is this thing going to end and we don't have any finite list that we can say, 'OK if we do these 10 things that we can go to Europe'. At the moment the list seems to be never-ending."

Graham Southwick says Fiji exporters have asked for a final list of conditions so that they can work out how much it'll cost to come up to EU standard.