REPORTS of crowbars being used on reefs to dig out sea slugs have prompted the Fisheries Department to review laws which protect marine life.
Divisional fisheries officer north Gerald Billings said the matter was of great concern thus the review of the legislation.
"People are now going for the breeders and that is an issue that we need to stop because it will deplete stock. They use crowbars to remove the breeders from the reef and it is a serious matter," Mr Billings said.
He said although it had provided people with income, it was important to note that it took about 20 to 30 years for reefs to be restored.
"We need to protect our marine life including the reefs and the mangroves. It is a good source of income but we can't afford a depletion of stock or damaging our marine habitat," Mr Billings said.
"The parent beche-de-mer and breeders of other marine life that are being sold to export agents are being targeted now by the locals who sell it," he said. "It is a matter of concern and a serious one as well and that is why we are reviewing the legislation that will prevent such acts."
Mr Billing said demand for licences to dive for beche-de-mer had also increased in the Northern Division.
"It continues to increase every year and for the province of Bua, we have issued about 11 licences this year from eight licences issued last year.
"It is good source of income but at the same time, we need to look at how people are damaging the reefs," he said.
Mr Billings said they were closely monitoring the situation in Vanua Levu.