SUVA, July 23 (Xinhua) -- Unreported fishing in Fijian waters costs the government millions of dollars according to the Fijian government on Monday.
Fiji's Fisheries Ministry said unreported fishing could lead to pressure on fish stocks, cost the economy millions and affect the livelihood of Fijians living in coastal areas.
More than half of Fiji's over 884,000 population depend on fish as a source of income and livelihood.
Fiji's Fisheries Enforcement Officer, Hilda Lobendahn said on Fiji Broadcasting Corporation state owned (FBC news) on Monday that many fishing vessels that entered Fiji's ports were not reporting their catch honestly and correctly.
Lobendahn added the big problem for now is the language barrier because foreign vessels do not understand the reporting requirements.
Fiji's Fisheries Officer, Meli Raicebe said they inspected up to five fishing vessels a day and if they find a breach, flag states are immediately notified.
"If we do come across issues where there are discrepancies or issues of IUU, there's a procedure to be followed which is investigation on the matter and notification to the flag state."
Meanwhile, the implementation of the Port State Measures will now give fisheries officers the confidence to carry out inspections of fishing vessels that enter the island nation's ports.
In early July, Fiji had agreed on port state measures to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
Port state measures are a binding international agreement to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing by preventing vessels engaged in IUU fishing from using ports and landing their catches.
The implementation means Fiji will be able to identify vessels of interest and illegal vessels that may visit her ports.