Island income sources narrow
19 September, 2018, 11:02 am
VILLAGERS on the island of Tavea within the district of Lekutu in Bua are feeling the pinch of bans set by Government on beche-de-mer and certain fish species which they relied on for income generation.
Acting head of yavusa Tavea, Sitiveni Tabua, said the drought made things worse for villagers, adding there was no reliable source of income for them. Mr Tabua said they had access to honey production workshops and other income generating projects initiated by the Government, but it was community owned and not individually.
“Therefore, money generated from these projects is too small to address the financial needs of all 60 something families on our island,” he said.
“That is why we are saying, on the island, Government needs to assist individual families so that we can recover what we have lost through the bans and be able to put food on the table for our families,” he said.
“Unlike those in towns and cities who are working and earning money, we in the rural areas depend solely on the exploitation of natural resources to earn a living.
“With these bans in place, it has made life really hard and unbearable for villagers.”
Responding to earlier statements made by Minister for Fisheries Semi Koroilavesau that stocks of marine species put on ban needed to be rejuvenated, Mr Tabua said they understood the meaning of the ban, but Government needed to ensure that families had a backup.
While responding to similar views raised on Yadua Island during his tour last month, Mr Koroilavesau urged villagers to respect the bans.
Mr Koroilavesau said the bans were based on researches by specialists who said stocks of beche-de-mers, kawakawa and donu were at a critical level.
He added that since the marine organisms did not have a voice, it was upon us to protect them from extinction., adding it was for their own good and that of their future generations.