The government of Fiji last week issued decrees that could aid different sectors of the island nation’s marine industry. The passage of the Surfing Decree 2010 and Superyacht Decree 2010, as well as a reduction in duties on personal watercraft, will now open local waters to very different clienteles.

The Surfing Decree, in effect, annuls the rights of local resorts to restrict surfing to only their guests, and allows surfers and other water-sports enthusiasts access to the waters. Dixon Seeto, president of Fiji Islands Hotel and Tourism, applauded the government’s decision. “This decree is good because it opens the seas and would expand and develop marine sporting activities for tourism in Fiji,” Seeto told the Fiji Times.

The Superyacht Decree, passed on the same day, would allow superyachts to use Fiji as a base of charter operations for up to six months. “I have been working with government on this issue for the past six years,” Neil Underhill, president of Super Yacht Services Fiji, said in an email to SB‘s sister title, IBI. “Once captains/owners know that they can charter in Fiji legally I think they will locate boats here.”

The government also lowered the import duties on personal watercraft from 32 to 5 per cent. Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, head of government, said the lower rates is part of the government’s policy of “creating a tangible marine and water-based industry and to create opportunities in the tourism sector.”

Seeto said the reduction in duty was another way to expand Fiji’s marine sector. “This is an activity that will become more popular as people see this as another product to experience,” he said.