SOLOMONS CRACKDOWN ON BÊCHE-DE-MER HARVESTING

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (July 2, 2002 - SIBC/PINA Nius Online)---Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Nelson Kile has appealed to Solomon Islanders to harvest marine resources in a sustainable way, and banned using the "trawler" method to collect bêche-de-mer.

He made the appeal following reports from Ontong Java that some people there have been using trawlers or nets dragged on the sea bottom to harvest sea cucumber, or bêche-de-mer.

The reports said people were harvesting 10 times the quantity they normally collected.

Minister Kile explained that the method is simple but very destructive because it can destroy juvenile bêche-de-mer and other marine life on the sea bottom.

He warned that using the trawler method could result in a fine of Sol$ 5,000 (US$ 711) or six months imprisonment or both.

Bêche-de-mer are not actually cucumbers, but are marine animals related to starfishes and sea urchins. Some varieties are exported to China, where they are sold for soup and valued as a treatment for arthritis and rheumatic diseases.

For additional reports from the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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