NEWS

Over-exploitation Of Sea Cucumbers Now A Health Hazard: Ministry

The over-exploitation of sea cucumbers using Underwater Breathing Apparatus (UBA) is now becoming a health concern for Fiji. This was revealed by the Minister for Fisheries Semi Koroilavesau during the
02 Mar 2017 11:00
Over-exploitation Of Sea Cucumbers Now A Health Hazard: Ministry
Minister for Fisheries Semi Koroilavesau

The over-exploitation of sea cucumbers using Underwater Breathing Apparatus (UBA) is now becoming a health concern for Fiji.

This was revealed by the Minister for Fisheries Semi Koroilavesau during the Fijian Beche-Der-Me Forum at the Holiday Inn Suva yesterday.

He said Government has taken on the issue as a serious matter adding that there was an alarming frequency of serious diving accidents and fatalities in fisheries costing to local communities.

A report by the ministry and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) found that this exploitation of sea cucumbers cost the country $1 million annually, he said.

Mr Koroilavesau said the report also laid out the impact on families and communities who lost their loved ones because of the use of UBA.

He said Fiji’s sea cucumber population needs to remain productive and maintain a healthy ecosystem while continuing to provide valuable income opportunities for local communities and businesses. Mr Koroilavesau added that last year the ministry banned the use of UBA which would minimise casualties relating to fisheries.

Steven Purcell of the Southern Cross University National Marine Science Centre, said beach-de-mer in Fiji was heavily exploited.

Mr Koroilavesau said the Ministry continued to support applied fisheries research to improve the management of it.

He said discussions from the forum would pave a way for the adoption of the draft National Sea Cucumber Management Plan by Government.

“Ecologically, sea cucumbers play vital ecological roles in the functioning of coral reef and soft-bottom lagoon systems.

“They help maintain healthy reef sediments and contribute to food chains,” Mr Koroilavesau said.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback:  arieta.vakasukawaqa@fijisun.com.fj



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