5 Jan 2011

Transparency Solomon Island calls for Beche de mer exporters to be prosecuted

11:34 am on 5 January 2011

Transparency International is questioning why the Solomon Islands government has allowed a company to illegally export beche de mer, or sea cucumbers.

The Solomon Star newspaper reports that cabinet decided to allow the Asian company, Haizhen Trading to export half a million US dollars worth of the over-exploited seafood resource.

This comes as the Ministry of Fisheries is working on a plan to monitor and assist the state of bech de mer, which is subject to a nationwide ban.

Transparency International Fox Qwaina says this is the third time the Haizhen company has been caught exporting the seafood and it should be prosecuted through the courts rather than decided on by politicians.

"We feel you know the public here in the Solomons feel that this should be referred to the Director of Public Prosecution. Instead the Minister of Finance and Treasury saw it fit to take to the cabinet to decide. Transparency International is questioning the process."

Fox Qwaina says the company has been lightly punished with a 25 thousand US dollar fine.