RENBEL province’s Premier calls on the Prime Minister and the Minister of Fisheries to hand over the detained Vietnamese fishing vessels to the victimised province.
Also, the detained marine products found in their storage must be yielded to the Renbel province.
Premier Collin Singamoana says a strong message must be sent to poachers that the consequence to stealing marine resources from the Indispensable Reef does not only mean spending a few weeks in detention and monetary penalty. It should also mean losing the ship, he says.
“To give an insight on the grievances of the Renbel people regarding these poaching activities, if we had the means of monitoring the reef and it had been us who had found the boats, we would have burnt the boats and their crews along with them – that’s how bitter we are over this.”
He also understands that this is an international issue, but reminds the government that his province is also a focal point of the issue, and that the Renbel province should be considered on the national front.
“Renbel has been suffering poaching of its marine resources at the indispensable reef for many years, decades. Some poachers have been successfully captured, while many have eluded being caught by the patrol boats.
“However, in all cases of detained boats from the reef, the poachers have been allowed to escape scot-free with their vessels, paying only measly fines.
“This must stop, and the Renbel province demands that the detained vessels be handed over to the province to take ownership of, plus the marine products in their cargo hold.”
Premier Singamoana insists that the national government must not continue overlooking Renbel province on matters that involve its natural resources.
He encourages the national government to deal with the issue on the international front, but address it amicably on the national front; one in which is to give the boats to the Renbel people to compensate for their loss.
“Most times the national government ignored the Renbel province when dealing with caught poachers; and this ignorance is offensive, since we see it as our resource. This must stop. Starting from this incident, the national government must consider the Renbel province.”
Meanwhile, Hon Singamoana reinforces the call on the national government to uphold its marine Acts and legislations and not be seen as weak and fall for diplomatic appeasement decisions.
“The poachers have relinquished their rights to everything the moment they decided to illegally enter and steal resources from Solomon Waters, and Solomon Islands must follow harsh examples set by Palau.
“It would be dumbfounding if we hear that the government releases the boats in the future. It will be deemed as a slap on the face for Renbel province, on the Marine Acts and legislations of the country, and on the country as a whole too.”
Regarding the issue of poaching, Premier Singamoana says that it will continue since poachers are aware of the richness in marine resources the reef holds, therefore asks the government to step up in monitoring the reef.
“The government, Ministry of Fisheries and the police must ensure that Renbel province’s indispensable reef is monitored on a full-time basis.
“If this is hard for these authorities to accomplish, then that would be shameful, and Renbel province will be forced to look outside for someone who can help us on this matter.”