TONGA BANS EXPORT OF BECHE- DE- MER

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NUKU'ALOFA, Tonga (September 17, 1997 - PACNEWS)---The Tongan government has approved a total ban on the export of the seafood delicacy beche-de-mer, effective December 31, 1997.

The 10-year ban was approved by the Tongan government Cabinet last week, upon the recommendation of the Ministry of Fisheries.

The export prohibition is being implemented to allow Tonga's beche-de-mer resources to recover from serious over harvesting.

The sea slug delicacy, sought after by Asian importers in particular, has increased in price over the past few years as a result of a growing supply shortage throughout the tropic Pacific.

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