By LUKE KAMA
ILLEGAL fishing and harvesting of sea cucumbers remain a big issue in the country, Minister for National Planning and Monitoring Charles Abel says.
Abel, the MP for Alotau in Milne Bay, raised the concern during a political dialogue between officials from the Government and the European Union.
Abel said the Government through the National Fisheries Authority had banned the harvesting of sea cucumber but foreign vessels sailed into Papua New Guinea waters and took sea cucumbers, fish and other marine resources “untouched”.
“We can see from reports in the media the theft going on around the seas and waters of Papua New Guinea,” he said.
“For example in my province of Milne Bay, our National Fisheries Authority puts a ban on the harvest of beech-de-mer or sea cucumber.
“When our people tried to harvest, very quickly the National Fisheries Authority and police and everybody comes down and puts them in jail.
“But people sit and watch 40 to 50 Vietnamese vessels taking sea cucumber, fish, shark fins and other marine resource untouched.”
“This is a great concern as we try to create sustainability to our resources.”
Abel also raised concerns on developing the tuna industry.
He said tuna can boost the Government revenue.
By LUKE KAMA