BY SAMIE WAIKORI
Stocks of illegally harvested beche-de-mer are reportedly piled in the Luaniua community of the Malaita Outer Islands’ Ontong Java circle.
Sightings of the piles and open practising of illegal harvesting are contained in a report by a government health team which recently toured the Malaitan outliers on the vaccination programme.
The Ministry of fisheries and marine resources is being called on to investigate this report further and act.
The health team reports that illegal harvesting and stockpiling is rife in Luaniua community and settlements on nearby islands.
They add that the activity is heavier in Luaniua than Pelau, the other main island in the lagoon.
The report describes locals as practising illegal harvesting openly without fear of being seen.
Another highlighted point is that there is no law enforcement system to hold these illegal fishers accountable for breaking the law.
The report adds that large stocks of processed beche-de-mer can be found on the islands.
Meanwhile, Auki fisheries office confirms to Island Sun Auki that the ban is still in force and harvesting of beche-de-mer at this time is illegal.
Auki fisheries adds that there is also no date set yet on when the ban will be lifted, and that all citizens should abide by the law.
On that note, the report also shared the serious economic situation people face as a result of covid-19 and the ongoing impacts of climate change on the islands.
It said bech-der-mer is the only resource people in Lord Howe depend on and it has been years since the last lift of bech-der-mer nationwide.
The report reiterated that the current economic situation experienced in MOI needs deliberation from the national government to act in possible way to rescue people from the situation.