Fisheries Launches Program to Fight Overfishing of Undersized Fish and Shellfish

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By: Jasmine Netzler-Iose, Government Press. The Fisheries Division of the Ministry of Agriculture has officially launched its awareness campaign aimed at protecting the future of our fish and shellfish population for future generations.

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Laʻauli Leuatea Polataivao Fosi Schmidt delivered the keynote address at the event.

The “Size Limit in Fisheries Matters” campaign was unveiled at the Enforcement Port Office at the Apia Fish Market this morning.

The Minister in his address said the law is already there to punish those who illegally fish, overfish and catch undersized fish.

But, the Local Fisheries Regulations 1995 is a mere guideline where else the responsibility is upon the members of the community to ensure that they work together with the ministry to keep sea life plentiful for everyone especially our children and their children and their children.

The Minister also pointed out that the problem is people have become too greedy and take no consideration of the impacts of overfishing catch that is undersized.

Under this regulation any person who violates any of the provisions in the regulations shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding ten thousand tala (WST10, 000).

Still it has come to the attention of the Ministry that despite this law being in place people continue to greedily catch under sized fish, possessing them, consuming or selling them.

But Laʻauli encouraged that it is important for people to consider their children, and their descendants and the future generations to come when they go out to fish, that a healthy ecosystem must be saved for them to ensure their own survival and enjoyment of what we today and those before us have been lavished so freely by God.

Marine resources are a blessing and free gift from God so it should be shared and spared for all to enjoy he stressed further.

The minister echoed also that fishermen must consume what they must, preserve what needs to be protected and cultivate what should.

According to the Minister this campaign will help regulate fishing in Samoa and will preserve and sustain marine resources as it enforces the slogan “Size limit in fisheries matter!” for sustainable marine and fisheries ecosystems to thrive.

According to Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Dr Seuseu Tauati, to reflect the ministry’s commitment to this campaigns four (4) vehicles of the Ministry have been fitted with promotional information of this campaign to build awareness in the community.

Following the formalities of the event a scale showing the minimum size limits for fish species and shellfish was unveiled inside the Apia Fish Market followed by a similar exercise for the vehicles for the campaign by Associate Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Maiava Fuimaono Tito.

Informational booths and displays were also set up around the venue of the event to ensure that people take their time to browse and ask questions about the campaign its aim and to build awareness.

A similar unveiling is also scheduled to take place in Savaii at the Salelologa Market this Friday 07 June, 2024.

Photos: Taunuuga Toatasi