25 Nov 2019

Sea cucumber plant operator in Samoa to appeal conviction

3:55 pm on 25 November 2019

A businessman is appealing a Samoa District Court conviction for the unlawful processing of sea cucumbers for export.

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Photo: Copyright: aquafun / 123RF Stock Photo

Chen Pao was found guilty earlier this year of operating a processing plant for sea cucumbers without a license, Newsline Samoa reports.

District Court Judge Fepulea'i Ameperosa Roma also found Pao guilty of one count of operating a plant for export purposes.

The matter is now with the court after an appeal was lodged by the defense counsel.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries launched a joint investigation earlier in the year into reports that the businessman was processing sea cucumbers.

His premises at Savalalo and Fugalei, where he runs a hotel and restaurant, were searched by authorities which led to charges being laid.

A ban has been in place around the country for the fishing of sea cucumbers for the purpose of exporting.

There is a huge demand for sea cucumbers in China, where they are a delicacy in Chinese cuisine, fetching huge prices.

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