CABINET has already agreed to lift the bech-de-mer harvest ban during discussions in July this year, well-placed government sources told the Solomon Star.
But the decision won’t come into effect unless the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources signed the instruments to have the ban lifted.
The ban has been in force since 2010. Last year, cabinet decided to lift the ban for three months to allow resource owners to harvest and earn money from this highly-priced sea product.
Our sources said cabinet is now waiting on minister Alfred Ghiro, who has just returned from his trip to China, to sign the papers.
Earlier this month, the ministry dismissed assertions the bech-de-mer ban had been lifted, saying there was no such directive from Cabinet.
Selina Lipa from the ministry’s licensing division said they have not received any word from Cabinet authorising them to lift the ban.
She said any decision to lift the ban will have to come from Cabinet.
Our sources say Mr Ghiro is expected to sign the instruments as soon as he arrives back from China.
His recent trip to China with his permanent secretary was reportedly to discuss fisheries issues, particularly with tuna.
A top government official spoken too joked that the minister and his PS were on a “fundraising meeting” since the ban on bech-de-mer will be lifted on their arrival.
Secretary to Cabinet James Remobatu said he did not know of any decision to lift the bech-de-mer ban.
He said the only decision he knew was cabinet had approved a fisheries management plan.
Meanwhile, reports the Solomon Star received from north Malaita said people there have begun harvesting bech-de-mer.
There were also reports that the harvesting has been carried out since the closure of the three-month period last year.
By DANIEL NAMOSUAIA