The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources has denied receiving any formal complaints from Malaita Outer Islands regarding the illegal harvesting of sea cucumber on the atoll.
Director of Fisheries, Edward Honiwala made the statement in response to claims by a Dr. Reginald Aipia that the Ministry has mishandled reports of illegal sea cucumber harvesting on the island.
Dr. Aipia told SIBC News he had submitted to the Ministry, a report on illegal Beche-de-mer harvesting May last year, but to-date, nothing has happened.
But in his response, Mr Honiwala says the Ministry is not aware of any reports from Malaita Outer Islands.
“I think what happened with Dr. Aipia’s case might give the people there a good message that’s why we didn’t receive any complaints from anyone there and we’re really surprised, but the good thing to do is to come forward and give the Ministry more information and we want genuine information so that investigations can be conducted.”
Meanwhile, the Fisheries Director confirmed receiving reports of illegal sea cucumber harvesting in the Western Province.
“We have only confiscated illegal beche-de-mer products in the Western Province and under the Act we actually get the DPP’s consent to actually destroy the consignment. Concerning the other group who went to the Shortland Islands, up to now, I haven’t heard from them.”