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Ministry raises sea cucumber concern

Luisa Qiolevu
Wednesday, November 01, 2017

THE Ministry of Fisheries is concerned that some fishermen in Savusavu are still extracting sea cucumbers and selling them to exporting companies.

Ministry of Fisheries permanent secretary Sanaila Naqali advised the public to report to their nearest fisheries office or police station cases of illegal sea cucumber extracting.

"We have not received any cases so far but for those fishermen found extracting sea cucumbers, there is a fine of $500 for you to pay if you are caught," he said.

"For exporters, they will be charged with a fixed penalty of $10,000 to $20,000 or imprisonment."

Mr Naqali said Minister for Fisheries Semi Koroilavesau had instructed that all leftover sea cucumbers must be cleared out by Thursday.

"We have clearly informed the public that harvesting, purchasing and sale of sea cucumbers must be stopped," he said.

"This means no more extracting of sea cucumbers to be done and if fishermen are still seen extracting sea cucumbers, it would all be confiscated and people should know that the ban on sea cucumbers was effective right after the notice went out on 18th September."

Savusavu businessman Steven Sharma said he still found few fishermen in Savusavu who extracted sea cucumbers and sold them.

"How come these people are still selling and how come some export companies are still buying, when sea cucumbers have been banned," he said.

"This is unfair for others who have stopped."

With the same sentiments, Savusavu resident Shiu Prasad said they had found few fishermen who were still extracting sea cucumbers.

"The Fisheries Department should seriously monitor these people as they are committing a crime and they know they are not supposed to extract sea cucumbers anymore," he said.

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