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Saturday, April 10, 2010
Police Arrest 38 Poachers in Macuata
by Serafina Silaitoga
Fiji Times - Saturday, April 10, 2010
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Qoliqoli patrol ... police officers confiscate fish, gear and boats from fishermen and women caught poaching off Mali Island in Macuata, Vanua.
THIRTY eight people were arrested by the police yesterday for allegedly poaching, and their catch, five boats and fishing gear were impounded.
The 38 people 29 men and nine women were allegedly fishing illegally at the Vuata reefs, outside Mali Island in Macuata on Thursday afternoon when they were arrested.
Police spokesman Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri said they were in police custody.
He said the villagers of Mali reported the matter to the island's fishing wardens.
"The wardens approached them on Thursday afternoon, took them to the village, kept them overnight, fed and looked after them well until police arrived," IP Sokomuri said.
"The wardens contacted the police on Thursday after taking in the 38 people. That was good initiative."
Inspector Sokomuri said people have been repeatedly told to get a fishing licence and to fish within the designated area.
He said the police was working with Fisheries on the case.
It is understood that the 38 people are from villages in Macuata.
Tui Macuata Ratu Aisea Katonivere, who heads the Qoliqoli Cokovata Committee in the province of Macuata of which Mali is a member applauded the action of his wardens and police.
"I feel for those villagers but the law is the law and we have always reminded people to get their fishing licences and fish within the licensed boundary.
"The fishing wardens and relevant authorities did a good job and we praise them for their work in keeping watch over our qoliqoli area," he said.
Ratu Aisea said this was not the first time poachers were arrested and questioned by the police and Fisheries.
"It's time we protect our qoliqoli and we thank the media for doing a good job in promoting the need to protect our qoliqoli," he said.
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