THE Leader of the Independent Group has accused the cabinet and the Ministry of Fisheries and Natural Resources of rushing into making a decision on the lifting on the ban on the harvesting of wild beche-de-mer without due consideration for the conditions required for lifting the ban itself.
Dean Kuku made the accusations following revelations that the ministry had failed to meet the core conditions needed to trigger any lifting of the ban.
“One such condition was for the ministry to carry out a stock assessment of the wild population of bechedemer, which in fact wasn’t done.”
Mr Kuku added that another condition required the ministry to put in place control measures and tighten loopholes on harvesting based on past experience under the ministry’s management plan to control this kind of fisheries species.
“Again, those requirements, nor a review of the management plan was done.”
Kuku warned that Solomon Islands is a party to the Convention on International Trade on Endangered Species (CITES) and as such, we are required to carry out and provide a non-detrimental finding to this international regime to confirm that we are managing our endangered species well in the likes of White Teeth, Black Teeth and Sunfish, among other types of bechedemer.
“Any non-compliance would mean that we are in breach of CITES, which puts us in a precarious situation where any export or sale of this fisheries product will be treated as unacceptable by the international community.”
Moreover, Kuku said the standard buying price for bechedemer is not ready yet as a condition for lifting of the ban.
“The price must never be determined by our so-called exporters, but should be determined after thorough consultations between the ministry and overseas buyers so that locals get maximum benefit from their resources.”
The Leader of the Independent Group went even further to incriminate the national government in lifting the ban saying that license processes were not finalized yet and the government was merely playing catch-up game on the matter to correct a fast tracked process to please our foreign export license holders.
–INDEPENDENT GROUP PRESS