CHIEFS from Luaniua and Pelau islands in the Malaita Outer Islands are calling on the government to lift the bêche-de-mer ban so that they can harvest their resource to earn income to support their families.
Chairman of the LUAPEL House of Chiefs Hugo Viauli and his assistant Bartholomew Kolo told the Solomon Star that the people in the Islands are currently starving because their main source of income comes from bêche-de-mer.
“Our people back at home are currently experiencing food shortage due to the bad weather which destroys our food gardens and now the people are starving,” Viauli said.
“Since we depend very much on the bêche-de-mer harvesting to earn income to support our families the people are now finding it difficult because the ban imposed by the ministry since November last year has affected us so much,’’ he added.
“The food shortage has forced our primary schools to be closed down and most of the people were now stranded with no money and can’t afford to go to the clinic since the clinic is located further at Pelau village.”
Bartholomew Kolo said the LUAPEL House of Chiefs has met and already submitted an application to the Ministry of Fisheries to lift the ban but the application was rejected.
“The ministry had imposed the ban because of the illegal harvesting that happened in the Islands last year but now because of the situation of food shortage we really need the ban to be lifted.
“We understand that there are requirements that need to be done by the ministry before they can lift the ban but the food shortage situation in the islands can’t wait for that,’’ said chief Kolo.
Chief Viauli added that they have also submitted a request to the National Disaster Management Office last year but they are yet to receive supplies that are they want the ban to be lifted because that’s the only way they can earn income to support their families.
By BRYAN LUVENA