BY JARED KOLI
THE Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) will soon carry out a nation-wide beche-de-mer stock assessment baseline survey to identify the current situation of beche-de-mer in the country.
Director of Fisheries Edward Honiwala in a phone interview yesterday said this is under the ministry’s work programme planned for this year.
Mr Honiwala said a baseline survey will be carried out to identified locations across the country to look at the general situation of the sea cucumber.
“At the end of the stock assessment survey, results will be drawn to make comparisons to assist the ministry on future decision making.
“Any decision to re-open the beche-de-mer harvest period in the future must be scientific based,” said Honiwala.
He said this will help the ministry in future decision making on reopening the harvest period of the product.
Honiwala said the problem encountered at this harvest period was that resource owners have no control rule or regulations on their resources.
“As resource owners, they should have certain control measures imposed on the extraction of their resource,” said Honiwala.
He said the ministry has control restriction on sizes of beche-de-mer but resource owners have been found to have no control on their resource.
Honiwala said when to start the survey, depends on the ministry’s work programme and budget.
“We will then do follow up survey after every two to three years, because as we had also found out, stock on high valued species has gone low over these four months harvest period because many people go for them,” Honiwala said.
He called on resource owners to manage the extraction of their resource for future generations.
“Imposing strict control measure is the first thing resource owners should do. The ministry has a requirement on the size of beche-de-mer harvested. This means only those that are fit to be harvested will be considered,” he said.