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James Sloan and Filimone Tuivanualevu

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The law on the use of Underwater Breathing Apparatus (UBA) in Fiji's inshore fishing industry

Feb 19, 2017 / by James Sloan and Filimone Tuivanualevu posted in Oceans Law, Beche de mer, Fisheries Act

On 1 December 2016, the Honourable Minister for Fisheries, Mr Semi Koroilavesau announced that the use of underwater breathing apparatus (UBA) to harvest and export bêche-de-mer (BDM), the processed and traded form of sea-cucumber, would no longer be permitted under Fiji law.

The reports in Fiji’s press have characterised this as a ban on BDM harvesting using UBA, and this has led to some in the fishing industry questioning the jurisdiction and legality of such a directive.

In this bulletin we consider the legal basis for denying permission for the use of UBA for harvesting BDM, set out other laws relating to the harvesting of BDM, and briefly consider why it is important to uphold the law on the use of UBA to harvest BDM which has been in force from 1997.

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