AN increase in the number of fish vendors selling undersized fish in the north has alarmed fisheries officers.
Divisional fisheries officer northern Gerald Billings said vendors at the Labasa Market had been warned to stop the illegal sale.
Our ongoing law enforcement inspections to the fish stalls have allowed us to note the increasing number of vendors selling undersized fish, he said.
We are warning the vendors to be extra careful and refrain from selling small fish to avoid penalties being imposed on them.
Those vendors who ignore our warnings and continue to trade illegally will be fined $100 or even spend three months in prison.
Mr Billings said they would not only discourage the sale of undersized fish but other sea creatures such as bche-de-mer.
We are working according to the Fisheries Act and we will make sure the illegal sale of sea creatures are controlled here in the north.
We understand that some people depend on this business for their daily lives but it is a requirement by law not to sell undersized fish, he said.
A fish vendor, who wished not to be named, said: This is the only source of income for my family and the wellbeing of my childrens education depend on whatever I receive from the market daily.
Sometimes, we buy small fish from the fishermen because its cheap and affordable to us, said the woman from Seaqaqa.
Life is difficult nowadays and now we will have to struggle more so we can put food on the table and send our children to school.