Changes to Fiji's Fisheries Legislation

Lucy Towers
17 September 2013, at 1:00am

FIJI - Fiji is making changes to its fisheries legislation in order to try and sustainably conserve and manage it fisheries.

The country's fisheries sector currently faces many challenges due to an expanding industry in line with high input costs and stable market prices.

In order to therefore try and help the industry, Fiji is reviewing its fisheries laws. To-date, there are two new decrees: the Offshore Fisheries Management Decree, which was officially passed in January 2013, and the Aquaculture Decree, which is expected to be promulgated by the beginning of 2014, reports IslandBusiness.

A third decree— the Inshore Fisheries Management Decree—has been drafted but is still being reviewed and is subject to further consultation with stakeholders.

Sustainable management of inshore resources is required for food security and small-scale artisanal fishing to improve livelihoods for coastal communities, but they are under pressure from degradation of fishing areas through effluents, destructive fishing methods, increasing populations, new fishing technologies and societal changes.

Similarly, the expansion of aquaculture is an alternative for income generation, relieving fishing pressure in the reefs and lagoons and allowing for the restocking of depleted resources, but it is hampered by the need for more investment, improved farming technologies and more technical expertise.

Additionally, all three sub-sectors require strong policy, institutional and legal frameworks based on modern international standards and best-practices. The proper management—including the proper regulation—of fisheries and aquaculture resources is a fundamental requirement for Fiji if the potential of the fisheries sector and the aspirations of its people are to be fully realised.