Beche-de-mer raid

Koroilavesau. Picture: FT FILE

GOVERNMENT officials raided a seafood company in Labasa over the weekend after reports of illegal beche-de-mer (BDM) trade had surfaced.

The raid, conducted by fisheries officials, resulted in the confiscation of large amounts of beche-de-mer.

Fisheries Minister Semi Koroilavesau confirmed yesterday the raid was conducted on Saturday.

“We have recently conducted a raid in Labasa and have confiscated huge amounts of BDM and we know that the bulk of this is harvested in Macuata waters,” he said.

“Our officials have been monitoring this illegal activity for some time and wanted to conduct a raid to provide proof, concrete evidence.

“The raid was conducted on Saturday and is presently being dealt with under the law.”

Mr Koroilavesau said the team was now working on information about the customers who sold the BDM to the illegal trader.

He said the poachers had also been included in their list of search.

“We do not know who the poachers are, but we have an exporter who has been buying the semi-processed product in Labasa,” Mr Koroilavesau said.

“The same trader has been distributing false statements to support what he is doing and will be a matter of discussions in Parliament tomorrow (today).

“We are dealing with this in accordance to what is laid out in the law.”

The trade of BDM was banned by the ministry in September last year.