TONGA BANS BECHE-DE-MER EXPORTS FOR TEN YEARS

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NUKU'ALOFA, Tonga (December 17, 1997 - PACNEWS)---The Tongan government has approved a 10 year ban on exports of beche-de-mer, or sea cucumber, effective December 31.

Deputy Secretary of Fisheries Mafi 'Akau'ola says the ban was established because stocks are now dangerously low due to over fishing

A survey conducted last year, he says, found that the supply of beche-de-mer stocks had declined by over 90 percent during the past several years.

The ministry is developing a proper fishing management policy for the seafood delicacy, which is especially prized in Asia.

A similar ten-year ban on beche de mer harvesting was implemented recently in the Solomon Islands.

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