Licence hassle

Teresia Dimotu highlights an issue at the Women's fisheries forum yesterday. Picture: SERAFINA SILAITOGA

ACCESSING fishing licences have been a major hurdle for rural women who depend on the qoliqoli for income. This was revealed at yesterday’s Northern Women’s Fisheries Forum held in Labasa where women openly discussed their challenges in using the qoliqoli as a business income.

Teresia Dimotu, who represented the women of Kubulau in Bua, said most women found challenges in obtaining fishing licences.

“Firstly, we are told to travel to Labasa and take our forms to Commissioner Northern’s office to sign our application for approval,” she said.

“We need to also visit the provincial office in Nabouwalu to get their signature first then to Labasa and most of us don’t earn a lot of money to pay for our fare. “So it will be good for the Ministry of Fisheries to make arrangements for us so we can easily access these services of obtaining licence.”

Ms Dimotu said such arrangements would become viable for the rural women.

Ministry of Fisheries officials assured Ms Dimotu that they would visit the villages and make necessary arrangements for the women.

In a separate forum of the Northern Fisheries meeting also held yesterday, Mali district rep Seru Moce raised his concern about the safety of fish wardens.

He said wardens risked their lives in combating illegal fishing activities. Poachers were in most cases better equipped than wardens and had the ability to conduct illegal activities, he said.

Mr Moce said illegal activities tracked down by wardens resulted with no arrests made because poachers escaped in their modern boats that travel at high speed.

Therefore, he pleaded with stakeholders and Ministry of Fisheries to assist fish wardens in ensuring they were well equipped to carry out their duties.