By Mike Puia
FISHERS in the Western province have been urged to control how they fish as the province continues to experience over-fishing.
The issue of over-fishing was also highlighted when the Gizo Raru Local Fishers Association for Sustainable Fisheries (GRLFASF) launched its constitution in Gizo last Friday.
Among other things GRLFASF vows to help tackle, the new body representing the voices of fishers has promised to help control over-fishing.
GRLFASF’s chairman, Amon Tauman, said over-fishing is obvious in their province and they are concerned about this.
Tauman said in the past their fishers fish nearby as fish was in abundance.
He said over-fishing has been responsible for the drop in fish stock in the province, with fishers having to travel by powered boat canoe far before they successfully fish.
Tauman said the issue of over-fishing is putting additional pressure on their islands that are already suffering from the impacts of climate change.
He said the spread of crown of thorns, a dangerous starfish that kills corals, is another problem threatening corals which in turn affected fish stock and fishers.
Another speaker who talked about the issue of over-fishing during the launch was Alpha Ghelly. Chelly, from Saeragi village on West Gizo, also involved in conservation activities.
He said over-fishing is a problem and fishers contribute to this problem when they continue to harvest small sized fishes and harvesting fish on sponging sites.
Chelly said sponging sites are important for fish and once harvested, fish would not be able to reproduce.
“Sponging sites is where fish reproduce. If harvested, it’s like destroying the labour ward in the hospital,” Chelly said.