The Director of Fisheries, Mr Edward Honiwala is concerned that certain individuals are spreading false information around claiming that beche-de-mer ban will be lifted. Mr Honiwala urges those who involve in illegal harvesting of beche-de-mer to stop their illegal activities immediately. “Those who continue to buy beche-de-mer must stop immediately as they are breaking the law. MFMR’s compliance team will strengthen efforts to monitor and deal with those that are taking part in this illegal harvesting,” he warns.
MFMR will investigate this illegal beche-de-mer harvesting as it is linked to certain individuals and business houses in Honiara. The Director of Fisheries warns all business houses to refrain from aiding these illegal harvesting as the consequences and penalties will be imposed heftily. “Remember you are breaking the Law of this country and you will be dealt with accordingly”, he warns.
The Ministry wishes to explain that the export data and the stock assessments are evident that the beche de mer fishery is highly exploited and overfished. The stocks will collapse if people continue with these unsustainable harvesting practices. “The scientific data that the Ministry have shows that low valued species and under sized products are dominating the export volumes. This is a strong indicator that the fishery is heavily over harvested”, he explains.
The Director of Fisheries strongly reiterates that with the strong indication that the beche-de-mer fishery is heavily harvested, the fishery will not open. Lifting the ban at this stage will only contribute to the exploitation and depletion of the sea cucumber or beche-de-mer stocks.
Meanwhile the Fisheries Director appeals to all Solomon Islands to respect the ban.
“I appeal to the good people of Solomon Islands to respect the ban. Our future generations will also want to benefit from this important resources. Give this fishery sometime to recover for healthy stocks so that the future generations can benefit as well, he said”