10 Licenses Issued For Tonga Sea Cucumber Harvest

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Yearly beche-de-mer quota for operators set at 130 tons

NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Sept.19, 2012) – As the harvesting season for sea cucumbers in Tonga draws to a close on September 30, a total of 10 licenses have been issued to local operators for export.

A spokesperson from the Licensing Unit at the Fisheries said of the licenses issued, five were for Tongatapu, three for Ha'apai and two for Vava'u.

A total quota set for this year's export is limited to 103 tons which is around the same total quota issued last year.

The six months harvesting season ends on September 30 and they allow operators an extra month to dry the sea cucumbers and export them as bech-de-mers. "We have not received any direction for extension of this period," he said.

Tonga’s sea cucumber harvesting season normally runs from April 1 to September 30 and this year's season will be closed as required.

The Fisheries had reversed its decision to close the fishing of sea cucumbers in July, after it announced earlier in the year that it will be closed for three years, starting this year to allow the stock to recover and ensure the future sustainability of the resource.

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