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By Moffat Mamu

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Sept. 7) - Prawn lovers will have to think twice before consuming their favorite prawn dish following revelation of chemicals used to catch prawns for sale in Honiara.

A West Guadalcanal elder told the Solomon Star yesterday that in his area people are using chemicals used to treat mosquito nets to catch prawns.

The man, who requested not to be named for fear of retaliation from those involved in the business, said most of the prawns caught through this means were often sold to restaurants and hotels.

"This practice has been going on for sometime."

He claimed that the people bought the chemicals from malaria officers stationed in the area.

"What happens is that the locals got the chemicals for treating mosquito nets and dumped them into a river or stream.

"When the dead prawns surfaced they collect them, come to town and sell them to restaurants," the West Guadalcanal elder said.

He said catching prawns the proper way is very difficult and this led the local people to use chemicals because the more prawns they caught the more money they make.

"Using chemicals is very effective for those involved because in no time at all bulk of prawns came floating as a result of the intensity of the chemicals," he said.

Some restaurants, hotels and individuals in Honiara are buying prawns from locals after the closed down of the prawn farm at Rianiua, Aruligo.

The elder said he is very concerned about the health of people consuming prawns from people in his area that is why he had to reveal this publicly.

"Such practice poses a greater risk to the health of those visiting and eating in the restaurants," the elder said.

He called on the restaurant owners and those who are buying prawns from local farmers to inspect their purchases carefully and to know who they are buying prawns from.

He added that the police must also investigate this situation.

"Police must investigate such practices because lives are at risk here," he said.

Attempts to get comments from the Malaria Research Centre were unsuccessful yesterday.

September 8, 2005

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