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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (December 18, 2000 - Post-Courier/PINA Nius Online)---The National Fisheries Authority (NFA) has lifted a moratorium on the harvesting of beche-de-mer in Milne Bay waters, Governor Titus Philemon announced in Alotau.

The lifting of the ban coincides with the approval and gazetting by Fisheries Minister Ron Ganarafo of the Milne Bay provincial beche-de-mer fishery management plan.

The National Fisheries Authority described the management plan as "the first and the best in the country."

The Milne Bay Provincial Government, together with senior National Fisheries Authority officers and industry representatives, formulated the draft management plan at a two-day workshop in Alotau in September.

At the conference, Governor Philemon and industry representatives strongly urged National Fisheries Authority managing director Simon Tiller to lift the ban.

It was agreed that the moratorium on beche-de-mer, also called sea slugs, would be lifted on December 15.

In a letter to National Fisheries Authority¹s acting managing director Tatek Buraik, the governor called on the management to lift the moratorium on the sea creatures as agreed.

"My government has made a commitment to the people and with the unanimous support of my Provincial Executive Council and administration, I intend to lift the moratorium on Friday, December 15, Mr. Philemon said.

The National Fisheries Authority imposed the moratorium at the end of September and it was to have remained in force until the end of January.

He said the ban had to be lifted to allow the people to harvest their resource and earn money.

For additional reports from The Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

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