I am surprised to read that the qoliqoli (fishing grounds) is on the agenda once again so I wonder what the outcome will be this time. It caused a great to-do last time.
Government approves the review of the Qoliqoli Compensation Policy
Publish date/time: 13/11/2009 [17:11]
Cabinet has approved the review of the Fishing Ground or Qoliqoli Compensation Policy. The decision has been made by cabinet after a submission by Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama. Commodore Bainimarama said prior to and after the Deed of Cession in 1874, the iTaukei have continually raised their concerns with the British government about the ownership of reefs and foreshores.
He said due to the increasing interest in foreshore development in the 1970's, a Qoliqoli Compensation Policy was established in 1974.
Commodore Bainimarama said the 1974 Qoliqoli Compensation Policy is outdated and it also does not adequately address emerging issues namely the misinterpretation of the customary fishing rights, the absence of marine resource inventory to determine the value of compensation, rights of compensation, restriction of compensation to foreshore development, lack of consultations between chiefs and members of the yavusa, processing of fishing licenses and foreshore applications, and environmental issues.
The Prime Minister said there is discontent among Qoliqoli rights owners on the use of their fishing rights without fair and just compensation. He said likewise, investors are showing their frustrations in the delay in processing of applications for foreshore development and continual interference from Qoliqoli rights owner’s once formal approval had been obtained from relevant authorities.
And also: there was talk at the Macuata Provincial Council meeting this week about what to charge fishermen - they have to differentiatea between subsistence fishermen, recreational fishermen and commercial boats because the latter really can empty the sea of edible fish. From Fiji Sun today:
Provincial meet rules on fishing licences
Established and potential fishermen have been urged to pay fishing licences and permits in order to fish in Macuata waters. This is a new strategy adopted by the Macuata Provincial Council for its people to engage in proper business transactions. The Council will be conducting an awareness campaign at the grassroots level of all districts to allow people to understand their decision.
Concerns were raised from the floor at the Macuata Provincial Council meeting in Naduri.The meeting heard that villagers questioned the motives behind the obligation of the fishing grounds and the reason why they had to pay for fishing licences.
Tui Macuata Ratu Aisea Katonivere said the province recently adopted a new chapter in their history in terms of development, not only for the vanua and its resources but for the people. "As of today and the modern times, you have to have a licence before you indulge in a business transaction."
"So in as far as paying licences and permits to fish in our waters, it is a step up into dealing with a commercial transaction," said Ratu Aisea. Ratu Aisea said this would empower ordinary villagers to engage in business making skills including securing loans. "The concerns of the people are taken by the provincial council and we are going to take the awareness down to grassroots level - that we must adopt the new idea or new move."
This move he said is to pay the permits being required of the various Government Acts in the usage of their marine resources. This is the current status quo of the Qoliqoli Cokovata and I believe the Government of the day is cautious of the issue," said Ratu Aisea. By December, Ratu Aisea said all permits should be issued to those fishermen who wish to use the sea resources of Macuata. This permit or license from the Government is $20 for those registered under the Vola ni Kawa Bula.
Ratu Aisea confirmed those not registered under the Vola ni Kawa Bula or the Fijian registry but living in the vanua is the discretion of the turaga ni vanua of the district. "The vasu, those with maternal ties, who have been supporting the vanua have been treated the same as those in registered under the VKB," Ratu Aisea. A bose ni vanua on Monday decided that all commercial licences applicants pay $1,000, a decrease from past years.
Ratu Aisea said this was decided after members considered the country's current economic and financial status. This applied to all 12 qoliqolis or fishing grounds in Macuata, the largest being the Qoliqoli Cokovata.