MFMR will strictly monitor the harvesting of Endangered Beche-de-mer Species


Black Teat (L) and White teat (R)

The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) have warned the general population of the Solomon Islands of the endangered species of Beche-de-mer.

Director of Fisheries Edward Honiwala stated in the Ministry’s radio program on SIBC, two species of Beche-de-mer, the White Teat and Black Teat has been declared and listed as endangered under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES).

Mr Honiwala made the announcement following the revocation of the Beche-de-mer ban on 1st September 2021.

“You are advised that two (2) species of sea cucumbers, white teatfish (Holothuria fuscogilva) and black teatfish (Holothuria nobilis) had been listed as endangered under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) which is adopted under the Wildlife Protection and Management (Amendment) Act 2017.

“However, Solomon Islands as a party to the CITES can only trade these endangered listed species under CITES Trading and Management requirements.

“This means that the white teatfish and black teatfish will only be harvested and exported pursuant to CITES trading and management requirements and Wildlife Protection and Management (Amendment) Act 2016,” Director of Fisheries Edward Honiwala said.

The recent nation-wide ban imposed on Beche-de-mer harvesting is necessary to control over harvesting of the marine product.

In March this year, a statement from the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources  highlighted that the export data and stock assessments have shown that low value species and under sized products dominate the export volume, which indicated over harvesting.

“A stock status survey was conducted  in selected parts of the country revealed a low stock density. This means that in a particular given area of reef, there were very less sea cucumbers found.

“This is alarming as successful external fertilization will be very low during spawning periods if there are less animals in a given area,” the statement reads.

Chief Licensing officer of the Ministry of Fisheries Selina Lipa also warns that they will be strict on issuing exporting license to interested applicants.

She said they have requirements that they want exporters and people who do the harvesting to take note of.

“We will be strict on size limit which means that you have to be very careful on what sizes you harvested.

“The same goes for those who whish to export, you must be cautious of what size you buy,” Chief Licensing officer Selina Lipa said.

Licence application for export will opened on Monday 6th September 2021.

Meanwhile, the Ministry further advice that harvesting, processing and selling of sea cucumbers and Beche-de-mer before the 1st of September 2021 is illegal.

Any perpetrators found in possession of, selling or export of Beche-de-mer before 1st of September 2021 will be prosecuted with severe penalties according to the laws of Solomon Islands.

by Simon Tavake

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