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ALOFI, Niue (Niue News, Nov. 30) – The Niue government has issued two licenses for longline vessels to fish inside its territorial waters, said Reef Group General Manager Kim Gordon.

She told the Niue News that the island government has received applications for a further three licenses to fish in Niue waters.

"These are all for New Zealand owned and operated fishing boats," said Gordon. "The exact start dates for these boats is yet to be determined but we anticipate some time in the first quarter of next year."

Gordon said the terms of the license clearly state that the vessel shall not be used for fishing within 12 nautical miles from the baselines of the territorial sea, or inside, or within three nautical miles of the outer edges of Beveridge Reef.

Local fishermen have been concerned that long liners will permitted to take catches from waters close to their coastal fishing grounds; questions about the licenses will be raised at the next sitting of the Legislative Assembly in mid-December.

Air Force Orions will patrol Niue waters to ensure only licensed vessels are fishing within the island’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

December 1, 2004

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