MORE reports have disclosed people mostly in the Islands and lagoons have been engaging again in harvesting beche-de-mer, (BDM) with news of the soon to be lifted ban circulating throughout the country.
Many more local and foreign businessmen are also reported to be buying BDM from rural people, and many more are seeking BDM licenses from the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources.
Last week, this paper published sources from the government claiming that the ban will be lifted sooner than expected, after Cabinet’s approval.
The reports stated that the Ministry of Fisheries is only waiting on the regulations to be signed by the Minister.
This has repeatedly been denied by both the Ministry of Fisheries and the government, claiming that no decision has yet been made on the matter.
Despite such, harvesting and buying of BDM continues not only in the provinces but also in Honiara.
“We are continuing to harvest BDM from our seas, as we have been told the ban will be lifted and that many (businessmen) have given word that they would either come over or have us send our BDM for them to buy.
“For us fisherman, it is our most valuable source of income as selling BDM will earn us more money than our normal daily fishing exercises,” Sweeney Satu from the Lau lagoons in Malaita Province told this paper.
Mr Satu added that many have encouraged other fishermen and communities to open up their seas and start harvesting BDM as the ban will be lifted.
Similar sentiments were echoed by others in the Western Province who said that people have already been heavily involved in harvesting BDM awaiting the ban to be lifted.
“As soon as the ban is lifted, many of us will bring our BDM over to Honiara to look for market.
“We have invested a whole lot of our money, time and effort in harvesting BDM based on news that the ban will soon be lifted,” Brian, from Roviana said.
Meanwhile the Ministry of Fisheries previously informed this paper that unless Cabinet informs them and gives them the directive, the ban will remain.
The ministry said to date; no green lights have been given.
By JEREMY INIFIRI