11 Jan 2019

Tonga fishing operator to cut services over govt clawback

7:25 am on 11 January 2019

Tonga's only deep sea fishing exporter, Pacific Sunrise Fishing, plans to cut back and is blaming government policy.

File photo of fishing vessels.

Photo: 123RF

The company operates six vessels fishing for tuna and mahimahi.

But co-owner Eddie Palu has told Matangi Tonga that the passage last year of the Tonga Exchange Control Act is a "kick in the butt" for the company.

Under the new legislation the government can force local business people to repatriate their foreign assets to Tonga, including forcing them to sell their property overseas.

This is a significant issue for Mr Palu and his wife who had been living in Australia before returning to Tonga and starting the business some years ago and now employ 75 people.

He said they have a house in Australia and that they didn't return to Tonga for business opportunities, but rather to look after his parents, and then they started the business.