The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources has issued a statement today saying it will not lift the current ban on beche-de-mer fishery.
It made its stance clear following reports of illegal beche-de-mer harvesting in some parts of the country.
An order to ban beche-de-mer harvesting was gazetted and became effective as of May 31, 2019. The ban covers harvesting, possession, and selling of all beche-de-mer species.
The decision to ban beche-de-mer was reached because the fishery is on the verge of collapse. This is evident from the data obtained by the Ministry of Fisheries during the recent opening period that more than 80% of the export consignment were undersized.
Based on this data, it was evident that beche-de-mer fishery was harvested unsustainably thus the need for this ban to allow the beche-de-mer population to recover.
For beche-de-mer to recover fully it would need up to 10 years at the most depending on the species and current stocks in the particular area.
The Director of Fisheries encourages the general public to observe this Order as any breaches will be deemed illegal and those found guilty will be liable for prosecution and or imprisonment.
By Francis Pituvaka
Ministry of Fisheries