Editorial comment – Let’s be aware

Ministry of Fisheries PS Craig Strong. Picture: SUPPLIED

Fisheries Minister Semi Koroilavesau has warned fishermen, fish vendors, restaurants, exporters and members of the public to stop catching, buying, selling and consuming kawakawa and donu during its spawning period.

Mr Koroilavesau said the ban on the two fish species would be in place from June to September.

The spawning period, he said, ensured that future generations would be able to enjoy the same species.

He said last year, the ministry confiscated catch from various markets in the different municipalities and from fishermen, but this year the focus would be different.

“While we had done that last year, we thought that the first year was basically to inform the public and given them an opportunity to understand the issue of bans,” Mr Koroilavesau said.

“But this year we believe that we have carried out the public consultations with our people and we will now do the legal aspect of it which means that there will be confiscations and also fines will be given out.

“So it is illegal to catch, sell and consume it. We will continue to enforce this ban and fine those found to be breaching this.” Mr Koroilavesau said all confiscated fish were discarded by the ministry.

“I know that last year there was news going around, especially on social media, that the fisheries officials were eating the confiscated species, but we want to assure the people of Fiji that we can’t be doing it because we are the ones regulating it.”

It seems we are our own biggest enemies when it comes to the depletion of our marine resources

. Obviously there are factors that are connected to overfishing, how we have assisted in the damage of our marine ecosystem and how much value we place on our surroundings.

It is clear that work must be done urgently if we are to slow down the damage caused to our systems.

This campaign is worthy of our participation and support.

It can work if we all pitch in. It can work if we make a commitment that can allow these fish to breed and grow in numbers.

Yes they are delicious. Yes, this campaign will only be strong with our support!

So let’s be aware.

Let’s understand what this is all about, be informed and make a decision on what we would like to do.

Hopefully it will be in support of nurturing numbers and allowing our future generations to be factored into the equation.

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