Fiji Time: 7:39 PM on Tuesday 23 January

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Coral ban to protect dying reefs

Serafina Silaitoga
Wednesday, January 03, 2018

GOVERNMENT'S commitment to protecting Fiji's reef system has led to the trade ban of live coral, says Fisheries Minister Semi Koroilavesau.

The ban, which came into effect last Thursday, has stirred concerns among local exporters.

But Mr Koroilavesau said the ban was part of Government's commitment to the Ocean Conference held in New York and the 23rd United Nations Conference of Parties meeting in Bonn, Germany, last year.

"The ban is basically our commitment to the Ocean Conference in New York and in Bonn we joined the Coral Alliance which was launched by Prince Charles and the Crown Prince of Monaco, Prince Albert," he said.

"Our commitment means protecting Fiji's coral system and the ban is part of our commitment.

"So what we are doing now in Fiji with the ban is based on the idea that a lot of coral reefs are dying, like the Great Barrier Reef in Australia in which one-third of its corals are dying."

Mr Koroilavesau said coral bleaching had also affected local reefs.

"Our commitment also means protecting the coral system and maintaining a healthy ocean and that's why we are doing it now," he said.

On the period of the ban, Mr Koroilavesau said the ban would remain and be monitored by his team.

"There is no set time for the ban period, but we will continue to monitor it and ensure that no trade activities of live coral happen during this ban period," he said.

"We need to protect our marine resources and we will stay committed to it."

Those caught breaching this ban will be penalised with a fine of $10,000 for individuals and a minimum of $20,000 for companies.

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