The Torba provincial government in Vanuatu's north is rejecting a plan by a Chinese company to breed and harvest sea cucumbers off Gaua.
A Councilor Jack Wona says the decision was made during a council meeting last week because no consultation has been carried out in the province by the government or the Chinese company.
Mr Wona says people on Gaua depend on their reefs and they fear the proposed project could affect the marine environment.
Last year, the minister of agriculture and fisheries, James Ngwango, signed an agreement with a Chinese company, South Pacific Agricultural Group Limited, to breed and to harvest sea cucumbers off Malekula, Santo, Ambae and Gaua.
Under the agreement, the Government will make available sufficient land to accommodate three research institutes, including sea cucumber processing and administrative plants.