Philemon bids to stop harvest

National

MILNE Bay Governor Titus Philemon is seeking court action to stop early harvesting of the beche-de-mer or sea cucumbers in the province.
Philemon filed an application in the National Court in Alotau on Monday, seeking a judicial review of the decision of Fisheries Minister Mao Zeming on a trial opening of the sea cucumber season only for next month in Milne Bay.
Judicial review is also being sought on the decision of the National Fisheries Authority board to issue exporter licences to two companies, Asiapac Ltd and Kiwali Exports, to trade during the trial.
The application also seeks orders of the court to stay the decisions and for servants, employees and agents of seven defendants to be restrained from implementing the trial opening until the substantive issues are dealt with.
Provincial legal officer Mea Arua, who filed the application for the governor, said the application for leave of the judicial review was set to be heard in the Alotau National Court today.
This is a day before the trial harvesting is to be opened.
In his supporting affidavit, Philemon stated that the decision of the minister to open the sea cucumber season on a trial basis was contrary to the Fisheries Management Act and the issuing of new exporter licences to two companies was also contrary to the Beche-de-mer Management Plan.
The plan was gazetted on Sept 12 which stipulated the legal processes and procedures for the fishery.

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