The Provincial Assembly Member for Temotu’s Reef islands, Jack Laka has called on the national government to consider their plight by delaying the beche-de-mer ban for another year.
A ban on harvesting the sea cucumber was lifted by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources since last year and will soon be enforced by the end of this month.
But Mr Laka told SIBC News today it will take longer for them to recover since Reef islanders depend only on fruit trees for survival.
He says all their fruit trees have been destroyed by the recent cyclone Pam, adding that an extension of the beche-de-mer ban will help them to recover.
“Cyclone Pam has destroyed all out fruit trees like banana, breadfruits, coconuts and other types of fruit trees on the island, so for our survival we would like the beche-de-mer ban be extended so that we can find money to buy food because from my observation, it would take more than a year to totally recover.”
Meanwhile, asked whether such an extension would be unfair to the whole country, Duff islands chief, Neol Hatu thinks it is fair.
“I think it is fair enough because referring back to similar cases which happened during the tsunami events in Gizo, Western province and just in 2013 at Lata, Temotu province, I think it’s fair enough if the government take it into consideration for our case.”
SIBC News understands the National Disaster Management Office had sent teams to assess the impacts of cyclone Pam on the outlying islands of Temotu province, including the Duff and Reef islands last week.