1 Nov 2012

Tonga police renew warning against compressed air harvest of sea cucmber

2:07 pm on 1 November 2012

Tonga police are renewing a warning against using compressed air to harvest sea cucmber.

The warning follows the death this week of Maka Lasitani from decompression sickness while diving for the marine animals in the outlying Ha'apai group of islands.

The deputy police commissioner says the 46-year-old was breathing air through a line from a compression facility on a boat, a method that is illegal under the Fisheries Act.

Taniela Faletau says Mr Lasitani is not the first person to die from decompression complications.

"We are concerned with the locals taking the risks of using...they know full well that it's unlawful and it's unsafe to use those diving practices, using those kinds of equipment but they take the risk and we're asking them not to take that risk."

Taniela Faletau says people are driven by the money to be made from harvesting sea cucumber.