Lift beche-de-mer ban, villagers say

Normal, Papua

The National, Monday October 28th, 2013

 VILLAGERS in Milne Bay are calling on the National Fisheries Authority to lift the suspension on the harvest of beche-de-mer imposed in 2009.

Dawson Island ward councillor Rex Busia said the National Fisheries Authority had told them in 2009 the ban on the harvesting and sale of beche-de-mer sale would be for only four years, which had now lapsed.

He said the people depended on beche-de-mer for an income to support their families and children’s education.

“Our cry must be heard by the NFA and our leaders,” he said.

“They are simply depriving our rights as resource owners. 

“It is affecting our children’s education. The examinations are on and parents need to travel to give moral support to their children sitting the national examinations.

“When there was no ban on beech-de-mer, we support our children and we even send teachers for further studies. 

“Communities contribute to help build churches and other infrastructure in their wards.”

The authority imposed the ban in 2009 because of a sharp fall in the beehe-de-mer stock.

Busia and four councillors in the Samarai-Murua electorate said the ban must be lifted now because beche-de-mer had been re-stocked.

Busia said officers from the NFA engaged to assess beche-de-mer stock failed to do a proper survey because they only worked in shallow waters for about 10 to 15 minutes.