Un­der wa­ter breath­ing ap­pa­ra­tus ban not new in Kia is­land

Vil­lage fish war­den said it helps vil­lagers fish sus­tain­ably

Fiji Sun - - North News - JOSAIA RALAGO Feed­back: josaia.ralago@fi­jisun.com.fj

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.

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