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Drastic measures required to save Kawkawa and Donu species

June 22, 2018 7:00 pm

The Kawakawa and Donu reef fish species stock has over the years severely been depleted due to over-fishing and in particular fishing during its spawning months from June through September.

It is for this reason that from June 11 of this year, the Ministry of Fisheries were able to amend the laws and legislate a seasonal ban making it illegal to sell, buy and consume Kawakawa and Donu fish over the next four months.

Director Fisheries Aisake Batibasaga notes that the hefty penalties of up to 100 thousand dollars for corporations and 50 thousand dollars for individuals are to ensure Fiji’s future generations are able to sustainably fish these species.

“This is now the time to put in strong measures, drastic measures to, for the current situation that we facing, particularly for these two species in grouper reef fish, Kawakawa and Donu because if we don’t do anything about helping them to breed freely and release those millions of eggs that each female will be carrying these four months.”

According to the Ministry of Fisheries, around 80 percent of the country’s known Kawakawa and Donu breeding grounds are rapidly declining or have died out.

Meanwhile cChange, a regional nongovernmental organisation has over the years worked on the 4FJ campaign that began with voluntary pledges on the two fish species before a ban was implemented this year.

cChange continues to work alongside the Ministry assisting with training of cross government agencies.

The Fisheries Director noted that the training earlier in the week with cChange was to help spread the message on what the ban is about, why it is important and what it means for those involved in the commercial fishing and sale of these important and highly valuable fish species.