No control measures, fast resource depletion, MFMR warns

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Bech-de-mer saga
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BY JARED KOLI

RESOURCE owners of the lucrative beche-de-mer product have been urged to take strong control measures on their resources during harvest period.

This was after the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) noticed that resource owners have no control rule or regulations over their resources.

Director of Fisheries Mr Edward Honiwala in a phone interview this week, warned that resource owners should take ownership of their resource and put strong control measures.

Failure to do this will result in their resource facing fast resource depletion.

“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 called on resource owners to manage the extraction of their resource for future generations.

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“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.

The beche-de-mer harvest season this period will close on Wednesday next week, January 31, 2018, and 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.

Honiwala said this is under the ministry’s work programme planned for this year, and when to start will depend on the 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 said the baseline survey will be carried out in 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.

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