The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources recently, dispatched a number of its officers to certain hot spots in the provinces following reports of illegal harvesting of bech-de-mar by certain individuals.
Officers despatched were from the Compliance and Research divisions and they teamed up with Provincial-based fisheries and police officers to carry out monitoring in five provinces namely Western, Choiseul, Central, Malaita and Temotu.
Chief Fisheries Officer Research, Mr John Leqata and his team successfully confiscated more than 50kg of bech-de-mer valued at around $10,000 from three individuals at the Western Provincial capital, Gizo and had them destroyed.
The second taskforce comprising two fisheries officers Mr. Christian Manepolo and Douglas Aitorea visited Noro, Munda and Seghe at around the same time and were able to confiscate more than 100 plus kilogrammes of dried bech-de-mer thanks largely to prompt response by the Seghe-based fisheries officer who confiscated the bech-de-mer.
Team leader Mr. Manepolo said it was evident in the Marovo area that illegal harvesting of bech-de-mer continues despite the current ban.
And he has suggested that follow up trips be organised in the future.
For Noro and Munda they were unable to locate any bech-de-mer although there were rumours of illegal harvesting by fishermen.
Similar sentiments were also mentioned for other provinces the officers had visited -that the bech-de-mer were already moved to other places before the taskforce could reach them.