Fiji copes with yachting boom

Yachting booms in Fiji
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Fiji is having to expand its customs and immigration facilities to cope with a yachting boom. According to the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji(BAF) thirty-two officers are to be recruited because of the increase in workload created by the recent influx of yachts, particularly superyachts.

The authority's deputy chief executive officer Waisiki Gonemaituba said their officers were stretched because they were trying to cater for the many yachts entering Fiji waters. He said rise in arrivals was because of the recently endorsed 2010 Super Yacht Charter Decree.

'We need the extra manpower,' he said. The decree, endorsed on March 30, 2010 allowed for superyachts to charter and cruise in Fiji.

'There have not been any significant changes in the way we conduct our operations of inspecting and registering the yachts that arrive on our shores. We are, however, trying to cope with a great number of yachts and are in the process of interviewing successful candidates,' Mr Gonemaituba said.

He said he was not too certain about the number of yachts in the country but stated there were a lot more this year.

On arrival in Fiji fruit and vegetables have to be sealed and not used in Fiji waters, and animals on board are not allowed on shore, with the risk of paying a $1000 fine.

BAF Chief Executive Officer Elvis Silvestrini says there is a need to strengthen Fiji’s Biosecurity capability not only to protect their people but also their economy and environment from invasive or harmful plant and animal pests.