AN awareness program to inform the public on prohibited species under the Fisheries Regulation is being carried at the two markets in Honiara.
It is being carried out by the compliance Unit of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) at the Central Market and Fishing Village on Saturdays and Sunday respectively.
The intention of the awareness is to inform and make an understanding on prohibited species under the Fisheries Regulation.
The awareness programme is made in close partnership with the Honiara City Council police.
An official from the unit has indicated that he is also keen to work with the national national Police when carrying out awareness programmes at the two markets.
He stressed that lack of understanding of the Fisheries Regulation is an area that the Ministry and key enforcement authorities needs to address.
“Local fishers need to understand that certain marine species are prohibited or protected due to whole stock been threaten or spawning stock are at risk of being extinct.”
The Ministry had started on turtles and clamshells in the past weeks and will expand into other species. Under current regulation, harvesting of turtles and clam meat for commercial purpose is prohibited. The Turtles Regulation also prohibits harvesting for the Month of May to October every year.
“These months are the spawning season for turtles,” the officer said.
He also said that the three authorities will carry out random checks on vessels (ship) coming in from provinces and major market outlets to ensure people comply with the national laws.
“We have received reports that certain people are illegally harvesting turtles and clams so the random random checks are done to discourage such activity,” he added.
Mr officer further reported that early this week he accompanied a team of officers from the Honiara City Council to do checks on incoming vessels and individuals who continued to bring these two marine species to sell commercially.
He warned those individuals who continue to ignore our national laws that they face prosecution under the Fisheries Management Act 2015 if caught.
“There is a hefty penalty under the new act and local fishers should carefully reconsider any intention to continue such illegal practice,” he said.
The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources will continue to engage in raising awareness at both the Honiara Central and Fishing village markets to discourage the would-be offenders and provide a better understanding of Fisheries Laws to the local people.
Meanwhile, Mr Jasper acknowledges the continuing collaboration between the three enforcement authorities and welcomes anyone with information on any individual or company who is suspected of involvement in such illegal activities to provide it to the three authorities.