Under water breathing apparatus ban not new in Kia island
Village fish warden said it helps villagers fish sustainably
The prospect of a ban on Under Water Breathing Apparatus (UBA’s) by Government would not be new for fishermen on Kia Island in Macuata. Yaro Village fish warden Kemueli Lautiki said the ban had already been in place on their island for quite a while.
“This is a policy that is widely understood and practised in our island’s fishing ground so we could fish sustainably,” Mr Lautiki said. He added that this was something they decided together as a community and they were already reaping its benefit. “We have gotten used to free diving and it is so much better than relying on gas (oxygen tanks) because of the health issues it presents,” Mr Lautiki said. “Unlike in some places, we are not complaining on a lack of marine supply from our iqoliqoli and if they need to restock their resources in other places then they should also follow this method. “There is no arable land for farming here and the sea is and always has been our main source of income. We are doing this to protect the marine ecosystem for us and our children.”
Four other districts have pledged their support towards Governments proposal for the ban in a recent consultation programme by the Minister for Fisheries Semi Koroilavesau. Savusavu, Wailevu, Naweni and Kubulau districts told Mr Koroilavesau that there were other sustainable avenues of fishing apart from UBA’s. Tui Naweni, Ratu Lavisai Kabakoro said fishermen in their tikina did not have to go far to look for fish as a result of sustainable fishing over the years. Mr Koroilavesau said he was very impressed with four districts as they were focused on sustainable fishing. He also confirmed that similar consultations will be held across the country on other avenues of earning income from the ocean without the use of UBA’s. Edited by Paula Tuvuki
Yaro Village fish warden Kelemedi Lautiki.