NATION

Villagers Plead Safe Use of Rivers, Streams- To Stop Poisoning Food Source

Mr Bosenavulagi said the men allegedly had a plastic bag full of prawns and insecticides were also in their possession.
24 Jul 2020 09:45
Villagers Plead Safe Use of Rivers, Streams- To Stop Poisoning Food Source
Waisake Bosenavulagi (right), and Anare Batigai (left) at Mr Bosenavulagi’s home on July 23, 2020. Photo: Shalveen Chand

Sawani villagers in Naitasiri are pleading with those who use their rivers and streams to stop poisoning their food source.

The plea came after a farmer caught two men allegedly putting chemicals in a stream near his farm to catch prawns.

Waisake Bosenavulagi, 48, apprehended the two men in his farm at Waidrauso, Sawani, in Naitasiri on Wednesday.

They were handed over to Police.

Mr Bosenavulagi said the men allegedly had a plastic bag full of prawns and insecticides were also in their possession.

“I can recall days when prawns, eels and freshwater fish were in abundance. I firmly believe that catching food by adding poison is not only killing our food sources, but also poisoning us,” he said.

Mr Bosenavulagi was at his farm when he noticed the two at a stream nearby.

Upon questioning them, he found out that they had poured chemicals into the stream to kill prawns.

Village headman (turaga-ni-koro), Anare Batigai said the people of Sawani did not object to people catching prawns and other aquatic life for food, but they needed to follow the proper procedures.

He said they had to get permission from the villagers.

“Please stop poisoning our rivers, fishes and us. We use the streams as well,” he said.

Mr Batigai said over the years, aquatic life such as prawns, eels and fish had depleted in numbers.

“We are unable to find food from the streams as we used to,” he said.

The Ministry of Fisheries frowns upon such practices and people caught catching aquatic or marine life for food in such a manner are dealt with hefty fines, and are liable for criminal prosecution.

However, this has not deterred some people from using dangerous chemicals and even dynamite. Most of these methods result in the destruction of the environment.

Food caught with poison is also not fit for consumption.

Edited by Caroline Ratucadra

Feedback: shalveen.chand@fijisun.com.fj

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