The Fijian Government has extended the harvesting and trading periods for beche-de-mer or sea cucumber, for the second time this year.
Harvesting was supposed to have ended yesterday, Friday 2 December, and trade/export till 31 January 2023.
With the latest extension, harvesting will continue until 2 February 2023, whilst trade and export will come to a close on 2 April 2023.
In announcing the extension, Minister for Fisheries Semi Koroilavesau said the decision was based firstly on the numerous requests from coastal communities and on the ministry’s assessment of the resources.
The size limit is 7.6 centimeters for all fully processed beche-de-mer species that are approved to be harvested.
Since the harvesting and trade of beche-de-mer started on 1 July this year, Mr Koroilavesau said that $17 million “in direct cash transactions has gone to resource owners”, and that “continued monitoring of beche-de-mer population health, timely data reporting from the licensed harvesters and traders, proper data recording, management, analysis, enforcement, and compliance with scientific backing indicate that beche-de-mer populations remain healthy.”
Additional economic benefits will be derived from the exports of processed beche-de-mer, which will be a significant boost to the Fijian economy, he said.
He adds that the ministry will continue to review beche-de-mer population health and follow international practices for sustainability purposes.