Fiji Time: 11:18 PM on Wednesday 26 October

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Fish stocks down

Jone Kalouniviti
Saturday, April 05, 2014

THE fish stocks and marine life in Yasawa have been heavily depleted because of the commercialisation of natural resources, says Marou Coral Investment chairman Niko Betedradra.

"Our coral reef system has also paid the price along with the lives of our young men lost to diving incidents," said the 75-year-old former schoolteacher.

Mr Betedradra said the influx of the beche-de-mer trade brought social ills because young divers were handling a lot of cash.

"Marou Village is where it all started in the seven villages on Naviti Island and when the Chinese came to extract beche-de-mer, our free divers switched to compressor gas and so loads of these were taken every week onto boats.

"One trader followed after the other for a good 30 years and the result we see today is a great heartache.

"Our children now spend up to four to five hours a day trying to gather dinner at sea.

"Our women no longer find the delicacies we used to find on the sands at low tide.

"This is why we are fully supporting this coral farming by Walt Smith International."

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