Bougainville Atolls To Defy Beche-De-Mer Harvesting Ban

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Islanders say they have no other way to sustain livelihoods

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 6, 2014) – Papua New Guinea's Bougainville Islanders are warning the Government that they will defy an extended ban on harvesting beche-de-mer.

In a letter to the National Fisheries Minister, Tauhu Pais of Tasman Island, who represents the province's atolls says his communities have not been provided with any alternative arrangements to sustain their livelihoods.

The 2010 ban on beche-de-mer collection was recently extended to 2017 to allow stocks to recover.

The Post Courier reports that the former provincial politician says the atoll communities have complied with the ban until now but have faced severe hardships as a result, including food shortages.

Mr Pais says the communities, except for the Cartarets, intend to harvest the marine species, starting this month for six months.

He says a constitutional clause empowers the paramount chiefs of any ethnic group to have total control over its resources.

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