Decree helpful for surfing

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Surfing tourism operator Uri Kurop at the Nadi consultations of the Surfing Decree 2010. Picture: REPEKA NASIKO

Surfing tourism operator Uri Kurop says the Surfing Decree 2010 has resulted in revenue for iTaukei landowners.

Mr Kurop said many of the traditional fishing rights owners had acquired vessels that carry tourists to famous surfing spots in the Mamanuca and the Coral Coast.

“The Surfers Decree has now, I believe, motivated microeconomics for indigenous boat owners,” he said.

“If you look out there, in particular in the surfing space, and count the number of boats, a majority of them are iTaukei-owned, which is fabulous.

“That is the outcome of the Surfing Decree.”

Mr Kurop said the decree was also the result of the unreviewed 1977 Marine Spaces Act which required boat owners to pay a Marine Spaces Licence for every fish quota taken out of a traditional qoliqoli area.

“Before the marine licence was put up, there was absolutely nothing. Before we would go to an area, do our sevusevu and the tui of that particular area would allow us to surf and that was it. No one is saying there shouldn’t be some sort of payment, however, it started with a precedent being set and that is why the Surfing Decree came on.

The Marine Spaces Act talked about taking fish but no one is taking fish.

Then it talked about loss of fishing rights but no one is doing that as well.”

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