Fisheries wants beche-de-mer fishermen to stick to size rule


THE National Fisheries Authority in its bid to manage beche-de-mer wants fishermen and women not to harvest undersized one.
NFA revealed that it had taken only six weeks for some provinces to reach their harvest quota.
The information said the big rush to harvest sea cucumbers from the reefs was expected because most of the sea cucumbers lived in shallow waters.
Managing director John Kasu said to ensure that the total allowable catch (TAC) was not exceeded, NFA established an information system and trained and placed compliance monitors in all provinces.
He said the NFA information system involved collection of data from the buyers and exporters on a weekly basis. Data is entered, analysed and summarised immediately.
The beche-de-mer fishery is managed through harvest restrictions of size to protect immature individuals.
Each maritime province is allocated a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) to control how much sea cucumber can be harvested from each province.
The TAC for each province are calculated for each year based on the harvestable sizes present on the waters and reefs of each province.
In order for the beche-de-mer season to be open every year, 30 per cent of the estimated harvestable biomass (weight) is allowed to be harvested and forms the TAC for the province. The TAC for each province: Milne Bay 118 tonnes (118,000kg), Central 58 (58,000kg), Manus 53, New Ireland 43, Bougainville, 28, West New Britain 15, Northern 15, Morobe 9, Western 7, New Britain 7, Madang 5, East Sepik and West Sepik 2.
Size limits have been set for 30 species of sea cucumbers.
“It is important that fishermen and fisherwomen don’t take undersizes if they want to continue to earn an income from the fishery every year,” Kasu said.
“Buyers and exporters are required to comply with the size limits and penalties include loss of licences.”

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