INDIVIDUALS and companies fishing, exporting or consuming beche-de-mer can face up to $20,000 fine.

Yesterday marked the first day of the implementation of the beche-de-mer ban which forbids the sale and export of beche-de-mer.

Fisheries Minister Semi Koroilavesau said this was part of Government’s commitment made during the Oceans Conference held in New York in June this year.

Mr Koroilavesau said the fine would be determined by the court.

“Those caught selling or exporting beche-de-mer will be produced in court. We won’t fine them on the spot. It doesn’t matter if someone is found with three or more beche-de-mer, they will be taken to court and the fine determined by the court,” he said.

He said the ban was initiated two months ago to allow for business houses to clear all stock.

Mr Koroilavesau said this was part of Government’s initiative to replenish beche-de-mer stock in villages and local communities.

“Many people think that we’re just doing this because we want to do it, that is wrong. We’re doing this so that we can re-stock our reefs with fishes and sea creatures for our future generation,” he said.

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