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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, April 27) - Fiji’s leading fishing company says many Chinese-based ventures have packed up and gone home after their license applications were rejected.

Graham Southwick, the managing director of Fiji Fish Marketing, says the government’s tuna licensing committee rejected more than 60 out of the 84 applicants this time through.

This follows the industry calling for a crackdown on licenses after complaints that foreign operators weren’t meeting joint venture standards or following strict criteria on catch levels.

Mr Southwick says the mainly Chinese-based boats couldn’t fulfill the requirements.

"They are entitled to appeal but they are so far short of the criteria that it’s not like they were within cooee of it, and of course, it was never their intention to do the job properly or to invest properly or to be here for a long period, which is what would be required. So, not having that intention, they basically packed up their marbles and went home."

Mr Southwick says the reduction in licenses will put the industry back on a sustainable footing.

The Fisheries minister, Konisi Yabaki, says it’s not yet known how many companies will resubmit their applications for licenses.

April 28, 2004

Radio New Zealand International:


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