Rule-breakers putting Fijian fisheries at stake

An ocean conservation group has grave concerns for the state of Fijian waters.

The New Zealand Navy has assisted in a bust off the coast of Nadi, the suspect vessel operating without a license.

"Fijians are trying so hard to control their fisheries with input controls, which means licences," says Legasea spokesman Scott Macindoe.

"If they're out there ignoring those input controls, well their fishery will eventually find itself depleted - just like ours."

When brought back to port, the Navy found chillers containing 144kg of illegally caught barracuda and giant trevally.

The busted crew will likely lose their fishing equipment and boat, and their catch will also be seized.

Mr Macindoe says dodgy New Zealand fishing operations are more likely to take an illegal catch than they are to operate without a license.

"We in New Zealand use output controls, ie quota management. There aren't too many people fishing in our waters without a licence. What we're trying to do is manage fisheries by counting all the fish we catch, which is mission impossible."

It's the second time in a matter of months our Navy has busted skipper Ajay Raj aboard the boat near Nadi fishing with no license.

"He knows the person that is the licence holder needs to be on board, so it's a blatant infringement of the licence conditions. I would say he's just trying to get away with it, basically," Sub-Lieutenant Julian Grimmett said.