Fisheries Ministries Denies Illegal Harvesting, Addresses Market Routes

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Minister of Fisheries

The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources has maintained that harvesting of bech-de-mer has ended but emphasized that an extension is necessary to enable producers to bring their products from the provinces to Honiara for sale.

In a statement issued today, the Ministry said an assessment by its officers has established that because of shipping difficulties, many producers won’t be able to get their products to Honiara until June 14.

“The extension to June 14 is therefore necessary so that producers can sell their products,” the statement said.

The statement said the Ministry had to be realistic in taking onboard shipping schedules and working with bech-de-mer exporters to ensure that their products could be marketed.

The Ministry said it has not received any formal complaints or reports of illegal harvesting as reported in the Islands Sun newspaper but the Ministry is working with exporters to finalise their export details and shipment of the final bech-de-mer consignment should be undertaken on or before 14 June 2015.

“Currently, the Ministry has not received any formal report of illegal harvesting out in the provinces,” the statement said.

Under the previous arrangement, harvesting period for the sea cucumbers or bech-de-mer should have ceased on 30 April 2015 while preparations for export should have lapsed on 30 May 2015.

However, based on the Ministry’s assessment, the deadline had to be extended.

“The extension was made based on requests from exporting companies and local communities. The Ministry is working with all exporters to finalize their export details.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry has carried out a stock take of exporting companies, including those yet to arrive from provinces. Officers have been sent to Lord Howe, Temotu and Choisuel Provinces to monitor declared stock by companies out in these Provinces.

“All companies did notify the Ministry on the export date of their final consignment to be done, with majority suggesting the 14th June 2015 to be the last date for export.

“Thus permissions were sought by the exporters from the provinces and the Ministry is working to facilitate their export permits before their final shipment date.

“Some of the exporters have had their consignments shipped early in May.”

The Ministry said that the final shipments for the exporters will occur on 5 and 14 June 2015.