THE head of one of the region’s key fishing agencies, the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), says he has witnessed clashes at sea over fishing but nothing as tragic as the killing of several men on the high seas, portrayed in a Youtube video Monday.
The Fiji police are investigating the video which shows several men, floating among wreckage, being shot and killed by a gunman aboard a vessel as another large boat floats in the background.
Fiji Assistant Police Commissioner RusiateTudravu told Radio Australia it was too early to make a statement on the contents of the video.
“We have not received any formal complaints and I have not yet seen the video,” he said.
Solomon Islander Transform Aqorau who is the head of the PNA says there is almost a war going on over fish aggregating devices, known as “fads” which are used to attract fish but he describes the latest incident as beyond the work of rogues.
“It’s just a terrible, terrible tragedy to see that and we should do something at the government level and make sure these boats are not licensed.”
Dr Aqorau says the video needs to be authenticated and the boats chased up but he says he understands one has been identified already as Taiwanese.
The president of Fiji’s Tuna Boat Owners Association, Graham Southwick, says violence often erupts at sea, and crew members go missing.
“Conflicts and fights and murders on the high seas on fishing boats are relatively common,” he said.
“In the Pacific there’d probably be half a dozen a year at least.”