Vanuatu Official Affirms Foreign Fishers Hurting Economy

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Only revenues from fishing allegedly come from licensing

By Godwin Ligo

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Aug. 14, 2012) – The Director General in the Ministry of Finance, George Maniuri, has confirmed to Daily Post that the Vanuatu Government loses more than Vt245 million [US$2.6 million] from fish caught in Vanuatu waters by foreign fishing vessels and sold abroad.

"While it is true that some of the 171 Taiwanese Fishing boats are flying Vanuatu flags or Fijian flags do have valid registration to fish in Vanuatu and Fiji waters, Vanuatu never receives the actual cash from the sale of fish that are off loaded in Fiji.

"In fact the actual figure that Vanuatu losses, is more than double or triple the Vt245 million," the Finance Director General told Daily Post.

He went on to state that the only revenue that Vanuatu is making comes from the Taiwanese Fishing Boats that are either registered to fly Vanuatu flag or are licensed to fish in Vanuatu waters.

"All Taiwanese fishing boats offload all fish in Fiji. These provide employment to the people of Fiji. They also buy fuel in Fiji, as well as water and all food supplies and maintenance. Vanuatu loses out also on all these," Finance DG Maniuri pointed out to Daily Post.

Daily Post could not get verification from the Fisheries Department at the time of going to press on the number of Taiwanese or Foreign Fishing vessels that are either paying an annual license fee to fish in Vanuatu waters or are registered under the Vanuatu flag but fish in any waters other than Vanuatu’s.

Daily Post could not get figures on the actual revenue collected from fees paid either for registration or license from the foreign fishing vessels.

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