BIOSECURITY AND INTERNATIONAL YACHTS
With the steady growth of yacht tourism, Fiji is becoming a yacht and super yacht hub of the South Pacific. While this is good news for Fiji’s tourism industry, the international yachts and super yachts entering Fiji waters also pose biosecurity risks and for this reason they are closely monitored by the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF). BAF will undertake all measures possible to facilitate the passage of yachts through our waters but we also maintain a high level of surveillance for these vessels.
All visiting vessels including yachts need to be aware of Fiji’s Biosecurity procedures not only to avoid hefty fines and penalties but also to protect our agriculture, economy, environment and human health from harmful foreign pests and diseases. This is particularly important with regards to live animals, pot plants, meats, dairy, fruits and vegetables that are on board the yacht. These items may carry pests and diseases that are not currently present in Fiji and their uncontrolled importation could negatively impact our agricultural sector and natural resources.
The uninspected yachts visiting the remote islands of Fiji are of great concern to BAF. These yachts could have on board biosecurity risk items which to the yacht master and occupants may not seem to be risk goods hence increasing the chances of introducing invasive plant or animal species and exotic pests and diseases into Fiji. With this in mind, BAF has a surveillance boat, “BIOSECURITY1” which conducts routine surveillance and monitoring of yachts in the Yasawa and Mamanuca island groups as these are both prime tourist spots in Fiji. Among other things, the surveillance boat is used to inspect the incoming yachts to the Mamanuca and Yasawa group. Please cooperate with the Biosecurity Officers if your yacht is boarded for inspection.
Biosecurity clearance procedures for yachts and pleasure crafts
Once in Fiji waters, Masters/Captains shall ensure that all refuse is contained in closed leak proof containers or sealed-up in strong plastic bags. The yachts should immediately proceed to the port designated as the “first port of arrival” where a Biosecurity officer will board, inspect and clear the vessel, crew and passengers for entry into Fiji.
The first ports of entry for yachts are Suva, Lautoka, Savusavu, Vuda, Levuka and Denarau. The entry ports can be viewed at: www.baf.com.fj
Passenger/crew arrival card: every person entering Fiji must complete a personal declaration. All biosecurity risk items must be declared. If unsure, it is advisable to tick yes!
Master’s Declaration: the Master of every vessel must complete a declaration of all risk items on-board. The master or captain of the yacht must declare the following:
- The destination seaport in Fiji and the estimated time of arrival of the vessel
- Its immediate preceding port or place of call
- The proposed itinerary of the vessel until it leaves Fiji
- The nature and country of origin of its cargo
- The number of passengers and crew on-board
- The presence of any live animal(s) or live plant(s) on the vessel
- The nature of any illness or malady affecting any live animal, plant, crew member, passenger or other individuals on board the vessel
Please note this declaration must be made at least 24 hours before the estimated time of arrival. The vessel master is also required to complete a “Master’s Declaration Form” (available online at www.baf.com.fj) declaring all biosecurity risk items on-board.
Biosecurity advice to yachts visiting Fiji’s outer islands
Our people, especially those on remote islands are well-informed to keep a look out for yachts or any vessels not cleared or inspected by the border control agencies and report them to their nearest Police Station, Customs, Health or BAF office. Therefore, all yachts intending to visit remote areas of Fiji must first report to a “port of first entry” before proceeding to other areas in Fiji.
The vast majority of yacht and super yacht traffic that come to Fiji do observe biosecurity guidelines and abide by our laws as it is in their interest to do so. These mariners are well travelled and familiar with Biosecurity procedures in the Pacific and elsewhere in the world. With their help and that of our communities, Fiji’s pristine environment is protected from harmful pests and diseases.
For more information, please contact the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji on 3312512 or email firstname.lastname@example.org