State lifts grouper ban earlier to help coastal communities

Minister for Fisheries Semi Koroilavesau. Picture: FT FILE

In an initiative to assist fishing businesses affected by COVID-19 restrictions, Government lifted the kawakawa and donu seasonal ban at the beginning of this month.

Minister for Fisheries Semi Koroilavesau said the lifting of the ban would ensure food security and financial assistance for coastal communities.

Mr Koroilavesau said Government had basically reduced the four months ban to two months this year.

“The seasonal ban has been going for some years now and we have witnessed the positives,” he said.

“We will put the seasonal ban on again after COVID-19.” Responding to questions whether the lifting of the ban was because of pressure from fishermen associations, Mr Koroilavesau said this was not so.

“No, it is not the pressure from fishers but it is Government’s own initiative to help our people during COVID-19 for food security and financial assistance to our coastal communities. Government has basically reduced the four months ban to two months,” he said.

“Kawakawa and donu have a longer spawning period and our science providers indicate that their peak spawning time is from June to September and that is the reason why Government had put the ban during those four months.”

Meanwhile, cChange’s program manager Mafa Wilson said the ban had been lifted to assist communities and fishing businesses in the country cope with difficulties they faced from the COVID-19 restrictions.

She, however, called on those that had signed the 4FJ campaign to continue refraining from fishing the fish species until September.

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