The Offshore Fishing Sector has been a major driver of Fiji’s fisheries economy, said the Minister for Fisheries Hon. Semi Koroilavesau.

Minister Koroilavesau, while officiating at the launch of the Fiji Maritime Academy Bycatching Training Manual in Suva today said the Offshore Fishing Sector’s longline fleet is worth US$60 million annually.

“In this regard, the sustainable use of tuna resources has been at the forefront of Fiji’s national and regional quest,” he said. Minister Koroilavesau said that addressing the issues of bycatch is important to any fishing nation.

“It is inevitable that there will be interaction between fishers and protected species which include fish and non-fin fish like sharks, turtles and seabirds. He further said that it is vital for fishers to act responsibly, adding that they must mitigate or avoid such interaction while going about their fishing activities.

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“While the manual provides an accredited training platform for a crew member, it also offers the perfect opportunity for fish handlers to contribute to a sustainable fishing environment.” The Vice-Chancellor of Fiji National University Prof. Nigel Healey was also present to receive the manual at the launching event.