A combined raid by Compliance officers from the Ministry of Fisheries and Police on a warehouse at the Malaita Provincial capital Auki early this week, has found more than 50 kilograms of dried beche-de-mer.
The raid was conducted following a tip off that a certain businessman at the Malaita Provincial capital is engaged in buying beche-de-mer despite the ban.
Police and fisheries officers raided the property and confiscated the beche-de-mer products and also arrested the businessman.
Director of Fisheries Mr. Edward Honiwala confirmed the raid saying that it should serve as warning to others who are still involved in illegal harvesting of beche-de-mer to stop or face the consequence.
“The ban is still in place and those who engage in harvesting the product are doing it illegally,” he said.
He said those who continue to harvest beche-de-mer despite the ban are stealing the resources of the country and the future generations.
“If you know of someone in your village or community who is involved in illegal harvesting of beche-de-mer, report him immediately to the police or fisheries officers near you,” he said.
The director stressed that the reason for the ban is to ensure beche-de-mer are able to repopulate.
Mr Honiwala said his ministry is concerned that harvesting of beche-de-mer has continued despite warnings and urged people to respect the law.
“I want to appeal to the people to respect the ban and not to harvest beche-de-mer,” he said.
By Francis Pituvaka
Fisheries Communication Unit