20 Feb 2008

Solomon Islands chamber of commerce says ban will not harm businesses

9:51 am on 20 February 2008

The Solomon Islands chamber of commerce says the government's plan to ban the selling of sea cucumbers won't harm too many businesses.

The Fisheries Ministry plans to ban the harvesting and selling of sea cucumbers from April this year because the animal was overharvested.

The selling of sea cucumbers had been banned earlier, but it was lifted after the tsunami last year to support fishermen who export the product to Asian countries.

The chambers' chief executive officer, Daniel Tuhanuku, believes the ban is not too problematic.

"According to the government advisor, the harvesting of the sea cucumbers was being conducted in an unsustainable rate because people knew it was only temporary. So they were harvesting 24 hours a day. So, businesses affected by the reintroduction of the ban should have realised it was only temporarily. The impacts on the economy shouldn't be too bad."

Daniel Tuhanuku says there are many other possibilities for individual fishermen and companies in that sector, such as life tropical fish and tuna exports.