“The Arnavon Community Marine Park in Isabel Province is out of bounds from bech de mer harvesting”, warns the Government.
The warning was issued this week in view of the recent lift of the ban on bech de mer harvesting throughout the country.
A statement from the Ministry of Environment, Conservation, Climate Change and Meteorology warned that here will be no ‘harvesting or taking of, possession of, processing, buying, selling or exporting of bech-der-mer from National Protected Areas such as the Arnavon Community Marine Park.
“This is to inform and warn the public ahead of any poaching and illegal harvesting of sea cucumbers in conservation and protected marine sites or areas officially declared under the Protected Areas Act 2010,” the statement said.
“We wish to make it clear that although the recent lifting of the bech-der-mer harvest, trade and export is applied nation-wide, national Protected Areas such as the Arnavon Community Marine Park in Isabel Province are not open for any harvesting of sea-cucumbers by any person(s). It is illegal and an offence to harvest sea-cucumbers for any purposes (especially bech-der-mer) from and within the Protected Area boundaries,” the statement warned.
The Arnavon Community Marine Park (ACMP) is legally recognised as a Protected Area under the Protected Areas Act 2010 since 2017. The Marine Park is a nature reserve and a critical sanctuary for marine turtles. Other species that are totally banned from harvesting are: Blacklip and Goldlip shell, Pearl shell, Trochus & Sea-Cucumber/ Bech-de-mer, Giant Clams, Green snail, Shark, live or dead Corals, Pigeon and Milk Fish.
The statement further warned that any person(s) found stealing or poaching sea-cucumber resources within or from Protected Areas will be prosecuted accordingly. A maximum penalty of SB$10,000 for individuals and SB$50,000 for companies for this offense will be applied including confiscations of all products, gears and equipment used in committing this offense.
The statement urged that site rules be adhered to and the Arnavon Community Marine Park Management Committee and its rangers and workers be respected.