Solomons Police Investigate Large Bêche-De-Mar Theft

admin's picture

Sea cucumbers stored in Fisheries office had been illegally harvested

By Jeremy Inifiri

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Oct. 16, 2013) – A group of men illegally removed 59 bags of bech-de-mer that were seized from Ontong Java last week and kept in the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources Office, Monday.

Director of Fisheries James Teri said the group arrived at the office after 6am when the security guards finished their shifts and only the office cleaners are around.

"They took all 59 bags, which weigh up to 2,000kg, and went off," Mr Teri said.

Police and Fisheries officials confiscated the illegally harvested bech-de-mers from Ontong Java last week and stored them at the fisheries headquarters.

Mr Teri said police have been informed and an investigation is underway.

"We are helping the police to identify those responsible and located where the bech-de-mers were taken and stored," he said.

Mr Teri said police have identified various locations they believed the bags were taken to and stored.

Meanwhile, Opposition leader Dr Derek Sikua last night claimed the bags were taken to and stored at Anolpha Warehouse in the Henderson area.

Anolpha Warehouse is owned by the MP for Fataleka Steve Abana.

"I am fully aware that the bags of mixed species of beche-de-mer were removed to the Anolpha Warehouse upon a directive from Hon. Steve Abana," Dr Sikua said.

He called on the Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources to come forth and explain why his ministry had to comply with a directive by the MP for Fataleka (see separate story).

Mr Abana could not be reached yesterday despite attempts to get him on his mobile phone.

Mr Teri also said they are doing their internal investigations to see if staff of the ministry are involved.

"We will get to the bottom of this," he said.

The Police Media Unit said police are taking on the case but say he would not reveal operational matters.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment