Leave items on ship


ANY products that are on a ship and deemed illegal should not be touched as they are court exhibits, according to the National Fisheries Authority.
Managing director John Kasu said the actions of a local MP from Milne Bay to remove the products, in this case, beche-de-mer or sea cucumber, was ‘illegal’.
Samarai-Murua MP Gordon Wesley had told The National that locals from his electorate confiscated items on the foreign-owned vessel after they impounded it in Milne Bay waters.
Wesley said the local communities were frustrated when illegal boats from outside entered the provincial waters and took way their marine resource (beche de mer).
Wesley said locals from his electorate got hold of the Vietnamese fishing boat and confiscated the sea cucumber.
“NFA failed to conduct surveillance after introducing the moratorium.
“My people captured the illegal boat, it’s unregistered, the beche-de-mer is with me, we will give it back when NFA uplifts the ban or pay us since we used our own resources to catch the boat,” Wesley said.
While appreciating the locals from making the effort to apprehend the boat in Milne Bay, Kasu said taking the beche- de-mer away from the vessel was illegal.
“Actions of the MP (Wesley) are not in line in what is under Fisheries Management Act.
“We (NFA) put a moratorium and continue to monitor stocks and assessments on recovery of the stock and at the same time we carry out continuous surveillance.
“One thing that people don’t understand is that when it comes to surveillance, it’s the responsibility of everybody. It’s not only NFA’s job. NFA has a small pool of people that carry out surveillance and we cannot be at every place.
“I don’t deny NFA is mandated but surveillance is all our business, resources belong to all of us, we all should protect the resource.
“Normal process is, when a vessel is arrested, all products on a vessel have to be detained until investigation begins.
“These are all exhibits for the court. Until all is dealt with, the vessel will be forfeited back to the state.
“In terms of products (beche-de- mer) on board, really these are illegal products, but because are fresh, NFA can process and sell them and all proceeds go towards the cost recovery for surveillance exercises NFA does.”

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