TASK FORCE SET TO INVESTIGATE BECHE-DE-MER SAGA

Dried beche-de-mer. Photo credit: Solomon Times.

Dried beche-de-mer. Photo credit: Solomon Times.

A special taskforce has been established to investigate the beche-de-mer industry following allegations that export licenses for marine products that were issued were in breach of fisheries laws.

The allegations are the export licenses were issued contrary to the requirements of the Fisheries Act 1998 and associated Regulations.

In a statement today, the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet says the Democratic Coalition for Change Government sees it necessary to establish a Special Taskforce to enquire into beche-de-mer farming and trading to establish the truth about the alleged irregularities.

Members of the Special Taskforce include Gabriel Titili as Chairman, Dr. Melchior Mataki as Vice Chairman, Derek Futaiasi as Secretary and John Muria, Nathan Kama Makini, Dentana and Dr. Reuben John Sulu as Members.

One of the taskforce’s nine responsibilities is to investigate the involvement of all stakeholders on the conduct of irregularities of beche-de-mer farming and trading.

The task force will also work to identify areas of weaknesses that would discourage the effective and non-corrupt implementation of Solomon Islands National Sea Cucumber Fishery Management and Development Plan in the country.

Meanwhile, the Beche-de-mer Taskforce is holding a series of public hearings next week to gather information from individuals and organizations about beche-de-mer harvesting, processing, buying, transporting, grading and weighing, and exporting beche-de-mer.

The public hearings are scheduled to begin on Monday next week at the Prime Minister’s Office Conference Room.

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