THE National Fisheries Authority (NFA) has imposed a three-year blanket ban on the gathering of bech-de-mer, or sea cucumber, because it has been over-fished and its stock could face exhaustion if nothing is done.
This three-year ban, which took effect last Thursday, is likely to impact more than 300,000 fishermen nationwide.
The sea cucumber market is big in Asia and locals are making a living from it, sedentary fisheries manager Luanah Koren-Yaman said.
“Bech-de-mer fishery has touched nearly all the lives of every coastal community … that’s probably 300,000 fishermen alone, plus buyers and exporters,” Mrs Koren-Yaman added.
Despite the impact on livelihoods, NFA is insisting that the move has to be undertaken to ensure the beche-de-mer fishery sector is not entirely fished out.
To save the beche-de-mer fishery from being exhausted completely, the NFA had opted for a three-year total closure to maintain sustainability, Mrs Koren-Yaman said.