By Chris Leua
In the bid to alleviate the plight of the disaster stricken communities of the Western and Choiseul provinces, the government has announced that it has lifted the ban on exports of bech-de mer.
Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Nollen Leni made the announcement earlier this week when making a speech at the Shortland Islands accompanying a high level delegation led by the Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.
Mr Leni said the lifting of the ban means that the people of Western and Choiseul provinces can now be able to harvest the marine resource and help them rebuild their lives after the massive destruction caused to lives and property in the wake of the recent earthquake and associate tsunami.
Mr Leni said the ban was imposed since last year but was lifted as a result of a cabinet endorsement made in the light of the double calamities affecting the regions.
With the lifting of the ban, the Minister said that now all marketable species of the edible marine resource can now be harvested for export.
He said there were conditions attached to the ban and they include non-usage of nets, deep sea diving equipment, diving restricted to daylight hours, and the harvesting only of approved commercial sizes.
The Minister said the ban would be reviewed on the 31st of December 2007.
Earlier on, the Minister also announced that the Government is also planning to bring into the country about fifty pump ships that will be used to harvest the rich tuna resources of the country.
Marine resource was also severely affected at most of the disaster areas of the two provinces.
On Ranongga Island, the reefs were lifted 10 meters as a result of the earthquake which left coral reefs exposed and dead.