All activities related to fishing or harvesting beche-de-mer in the country must stop tonight.
In a statement, the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources said the five-month open harvest period would end at midnight, and no further extension would be given.
The ministry opened the harvest period on September 1, 2017 after the Cabinet granted approval.
The harvest period was supposed to close at the end of November last year, but it was extended because of delays in issuing export licenses.
Director of Fisheries Edward Honiwala will tomorrow enforce an order under the Fisheries Management Act 2015 prohibiting fishing or possession of beche-de-mer.
There will be a grace period for licensed exporters to transport products they have already purchased.
According to Mr Honiwala, the ministry’s data shows that exporters purchased a lower quantity of high-grade beche-de-mer species during the current open period compared to previous open periods.
“Looking at the recent openings, there is some indication that high-value species have been fished down, and people are turning to low-value species,” he said. “People tend to go for the high-value species, but now that the stock of the high-value is down, most of the exports this time have a high quantity of low-value species.”
By Charlie Salini