10 Feb 2014

License cut-back won't help tuna population in Fiji

2:09 pm on 10 February 2014

A Fiji tuna fishing group says a reduction in fishing licenses will do nothing to regenerate the tuna population in the South Pacific.

The Ministry of Fisheries and Forest in Fiji has cut the number of licenses for vessels in Fiji waters from 70 to 60 for the year.

The Fiji Fish Marketing Group says the tuna industry is in crisis, with years of overfishing in the south-west Pacific leading to hundreds of job losses, and a loss of millions of dollars each year.

Its owner, Graham Southwick, says the cut back is too little too late and will not address the issue of overfishing.

"It wouldn't matter if they put 120 licenses or they put 10. The industry is so shattered at the moment. A reduction of five or 10 licenses will have absolutely no impact on the situation now, it's far too late."

Graham Southwick says Pacific nations need to band together to confront overfishing by commercial interests in Asia and Europe.