Sea cucumber trade emerges as a million-dollar venture

November 23, 2023 4:12 pm

The trading of sea cucumbers is currently a multimillion-dollar industry in Fiji.

This was highlighted by the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry Kaleveti Ravu during his ministerial statement in parliament today.

He says sea cucumbers are an important source of income for the locals, and their exports are considered one of the oldest trades in Fiji.

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“The lifting of the ban has allowed the harvest and export for this period and served its purpose with some $18 to $20 million dollars direct benefit payout to the harvesting communities and individual.”

Meanwhile, the Coalition government lifted the six-month ban in July last year, and the closure will be on the 31st of December this year.

The ban was issued to protect the fisheries and allow prenatal repopulations.

The decision to lift the ban focused on fostering national economic recovery post the global COVID-19 pandemic. It also sought to empower local communities economically and create opportunities for I-taukei-owned businesses in this lucrative commodity trade.

He also says a total volume of 140,000 metric tons of bech-de-mer were exported during the opening in 2022–2023.

The value is estimated to be $11 million.

He adds that during this current opening period, the estimated volume recorded by the Ministry is 42,000 metric tons with a value of $4 million, and more shipments are expected to be received in the next month of opening.