More is being done to help with the sustainable management of beach de mer that is also an important marine resource for coastal communities.
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says Fiji will be introducing a new management model for the species that sustainably supports the livelihoods of the communities that rely on beach de mer.
Bainimarama says currently there is a five-year ban on the harvesting, trade, and consumption of Beche de mer to allow populations to recover.
He says as the economy continues to recover from the pandemic, this new sustainable management regime will allow local communities to benefit from healthy Beche de mer stocks rather than push the population to the brink of collapse because of unregulated and exploitative harvesting.
Bainimarama says the lifting of the ban on sea cucumber or beach de mer will be done with under strict conditions.
The Prime Minister says the conditions include that the harvesting of sea cucumber will run from 1st July to 31st August, 2022, the processing and export period will run from 1st July to 31st October, 2022, the harvesting licenses will be issued to the resource or qoliqoli owners as part of the Government's ongoing measures to encourage the active and meaningful participation of resource owners in our sustainable management approach.
The conditions will also include that the species of sea cucumber allowed for harvesting will be carefully selected to ensure we keep within the requirements of international trade and any species listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered species (CITES) will be banned from harvesting.
Bainimarama says all traders who wish to be involved in this fishery will also be licensed and this will also help ensure the sustainability of the resource and strengthen monitoring.
He adds that government has also directed the formation of a Licensing Committee to comprise the Permanent Secretaries for Fisheries, Economy, Trade, Environment and the Solicitor-General to select and license the traders and exporters.
He says the Licensing Committee will advertise an Expression of Interest by next week.
Bainimarama says to further strengthen the longer-term sustainability of this resource, government will employ scientific best practices to culture and breed sea cucumber with the aim of expanding this model of sustainable aquaculture to other high value fisheries commodities.
He says this is only one step in a long journey towards a better and bluer Fijian economy.
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