THE people of Lau have been told there is a shortage of sea cucumbers in the Lau Group.
This was announced as the Lau provincial office put forward a motion asking the islanders to stop collecting sea cucumber for the next five years to increase the yield.
A survey conducted by the Institute of Applied Science and the Wildlife Conservation Society last year revealed the number of sea cucumbers had decreased drastically.
However, the motion put forward by the council to stop people gathering sea cucumbers has been put on hold to allow the people to learn more about the issue.
Moala district rep Jone Waqairatu said the islanders relied heavily on money they earned from the sale of sea cucumbers and most of the money was used to fund village projects.
Lakeba district rep Nacanieli Bola also echoed Mr Waqairatu's sentiments.
Mr Waqairatu said the villagers of Moala also plan to gather sea cucumbers from an area that has been restricted for some years; they requested that plans to stop the gathering of sea cucumbers for the next five years be deferred to next year.
The survey named Cicia, Fulaga, Kabara, Mago, Matuku, Moala, Totoya, Tuvuca, Vanuavatu, and Vanuabalavu as areas where sea cucumber numbers have decreased.