Juggling fishing rights is a problem - thinking of conservation of the reef resources, the needs of subuistence farmers and fishermen in the villages, the needs to buy fish in the markets of Labasa and Suva and the right of people to make a living. Thankfully Tui Macuata, caught up in the problem of a seized fish catch by some of his people, instead of a prolonged court case, just paid up. Were the fish caught in the protected reef area, or over the imaginary border with Bua, I do not know. Anyway, let's move on, but keep in sight all the time the need for protection of the reefs and over-fishing.
Also, the removal of sand from sandbars and beach areas is a topic that so far has not been discussed, though we were quite distressed to find out that this is happening close to Labasa.
from one of the Fiji papers yesterday:
Paramount chief pays for seized fish
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
THE Tui Macuata has compensated a Labasa fishing company with cash and fishing permits to the total value of about $11,000 to evade criminal prosecution for theft Ratu Aisea Katonivere said that he had settled with Labasa Fish and Ice Supplies and the matter had been resolved.
Company owner Mohammed Aiyaz told the Labasa magistrate's court he wanted to withdraw the case against the high chief.
However, Ratu Aisea's lawyer Amrit Sen said he has yet to lodge his client's application for the withdrawal of the case with the Director of Public Prosecutions Office. Mr Sen said his client felt obliged to pay the wrongs of his people.
Ratu Aisea faces a charge of larceny of fish for allegedly seizing 900kg of fish from two fishing boats that belonged to Mr Aiyaz while it was crossing Macuata waters headed for Labasa on September 10 last year. The fish, according to the charge sheet, was valued at $4500. The high chief told Fiji Times he did not anticipate the criminal charge he faced. "I was just trying to protect my God-given resources," he said.