The ban on the harvesting of beche-de-mer (sea cucumber) in the 14 Papua New Guinea maritime provinces will be lifted in April, says Fishing Industry Association president Sylvester Pokajam.

The ban was imposed in 2009 to replenish the stock because of overfishing.


According to a project feasibility study in 2007 by the National Marine Science Centre, PNG was the largest producer of beche-de-mer in the world supplying around 10 per cent of the global market.

“In 2005, PNG was the third largest supplier of sea cucumber to Hong Kong and special administration region market, exporting 577 tonnes of 21 different sea cucumber species, with a gross value at first sale of K28 million,” the report stated.

It estimated that income from sea cucumbers supported up to 150,000 villagers, providing around K100 (US$31) per person each year.

“This may be as much as 30 per cent of annual villager income in regions where there are few alternative income sources.”

Pokajam said during the NFA consultative meeting on Tuesday that the ban implemented in 2009 was to be reviewed and assessed.

“They did the review first for three years, but the assessment of the stock did not fully recover to an extent they thought they should open it up. So they extended it for another three years. The NNF board last year agreed to have it reopened,” Pokajam said. SOUCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS [/restrict]