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Villagers feel slug ban pinch

Luke Rawalai
Saturday, December 16, 2017

VILLAGERS of Naivaka in the district of Navakasiga, Bua, were feeling the pinch of the ban on the export of sea cucumber.

Mother-of-two Nanise Vatunawa said her family used to earn an average of $1500 per week from the sale of sea cucumbers.

Ms Vatunawa said in desperation to put food on her table, she had now turned to mat weaving, which rakes in $300 a week.

"Villagers have stopped diving for sea cucumber, even though some still do it illegally," she said.

"The talk in the village now is how to put children through to school next year, considering the new school term in January is just a few weeks away.

"It is going to be a struggle for those families with two or more secondary school students in their families."

Mother-of-five Senimili Sekilagi said she had already started preparing for the next school term with the little money they received from sundry revenues they managed to make from sales of handicraft artefacts.

Mrs Sekilagi said that she had three secondary school students under her care, adding she did not know how she was going to raise enough money to put them in school next year.

Another villager, Apisai Salabogi, said villagers were seeing for themselves the decrease in sea cucumber stocks.

Mr Salabogi said villagers had no choice but to look for other sources of income to make a living.

The issue was raised by district representatives in the province of Bua during their provincial council meeting.

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