NATION

$20 Million Worth of Beche-De-Mer Confiscated in Labasa, Says Minister

Six months ago a total of 30 tonnes of beach-de-mer were confiscated from an Asian businessman in Labasa. They were worth close to $20 million. Minister for Fisheries, Semi Koroilavesau
26 May 2018 11:00
$20 Million Worth of Beche-De-Mer Confiscated in Labasa, Says Minister
Minister for Fisheries, Semi Koroilavesau with villagers of Yaqeta in Yasawa on May 24, 2018

Six months ago a total of 30 tonnes of beach-de-mer were confiscated from an Asian businessman in Labasa. They were worth close to $20 million.

Minister for Fisheries, Semi Koroilavesau revealed this on board the Government vessel, Bai Ni Takali as he toured vil­lages within the Yasawa Group yesterday.

He said the Government had put a ban on the export of beach-de-mer overseas and that the law was very clear on that.

While speaking to villagers in various districts in Yasawa, Mr Koroilavesau reminded villag­ers that money earned from be­che-de-mer might be big, but it’s the people to whom the delicacy were sold to who that are benefit­ing more.

 

He added that an exporter could earn around $20 million in the beche-de-mer trade annually.

He said in Rabi, people had been offered boats and underwa­ter breathing apparatus to carry out beche-de-mer diving and if there were any result of deaths, the families of the victims would be offered two cows and a casket.

Director of Fisheries Aisake Batibasaga said in the Asian market, one beche-de-mer would cost around US$200 (FJ$412.55) and a delicacy that is in high de­mand in that region because it is also used as medicine.

Mr Koroilavesau said the initial beche-de-mer trade was intro­duced in 1987 because Govern­ment saw at that time, it would be of great financial benefit to villagers.

“People should understand due to that decision made 30 years ago, beche-de-mer in Fiji are slowly disappearing and it will take another 15 years to regener­ated them, that is why we have put the ban in place,” he said.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: arieta.vakasukawaqa@fijisun.com.fj



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