THE Fisheries Department is again pleading with fishermen around the country to refrain from fishing the endangred species — sea wrasse or varivoce.
North Fisheries principal officer Jovesa Naceva said the department had done all it could to raise awareness about the protection of this fish species.
Responding to concerns that the fish was still being caught, Mr Naceva said the culprits were mainly iTaukei people who had been stubborn to observe the ban.
"We have done our part in raising awareness on the matter now the onus is on the people to think of their future and forget the greed of their stomachs," he said.
"Most of us take these warnings lightly because of our stubbornness when we know the repercussions of what we do.
"The fish reproductive cycle takes place after a long time and this is why it is a bit difficult to revive the population of sea wrasse in our waters."
Mr Naceva said all the department could do now was plead with people to treasure the lives of marine organisms such as the sea wrasse and the turtles.
According to WWF, the sea wrasse was very important for the health of the coral reef.
"They eat crown-of-thorns starfish and therefore keep populations of this damaging coral reef predator in check," it said.
"The hump head wrasse is highly vulnerable to overfishing because it's a valued luxury food as a part of the live reef fish trade predominant across Southeast Asia and the Pacific."