TONGA REQUIRES FISHING NETS BE LICENSED

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Throw nets included in new restrictions

NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Tonga Broadcasting Commission, July 17, 2008) – The Ministry of Fisheries (MOF), under the Fisheries Management (Conservation) Regulations 2008 has released a public notice requiring all fishermen who use commercial net fishing methods or 'kupenga' to be licensed. This excludes those that use cast nets or 'kupenga sili'.

Beginning this month, all fishermen using fishing nets will need to be licensed before the deadline of Friday August 8th.

This is the first time that fishermen using nets will have to be licensed, and Fisheries department legal officer Viliami Mo'ale told Radio Tonga news that they were holding regular meetings with the fishermen to educate them on the process of application, the fees involved and other new regulatory matters.

The public notice from the ministry of fisheries also reveals a set limit for the length of commercial nets to be used which should not be any longer than 300 metres, and have no less than 50 millimetre-wide netting.

The ministry has also warned fishermen than they are not allowed to use double nets when fishing as these tend to catch even the very small fish.

They have also cautioned businesses and individuals the buying and selling of illegal fishing nets is forbidden, with the ministry planning to put up measures to ensure that all nets being imported are in compliance with all necessary regulations before entering into the country.

Tonga Broadcasting Commission: http://69.64.78.143/index.php

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