Vendors warned to refrain from selling undersized crabs

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Fisheries officials check the sizes of the crab during a random check. Picture: SUPPLIED/FT FILE

THE Ministry of Fisheries has issued a stern warning to vendors to refrain from selling undersized crabs and leave it to reach its maturity stage before it’s harvested.

This was after the ministry confiscated 483 undersized crabs during an operation at markets around the Suva-Nausori corridor on Saturday.

The crabs were later released into the sea in Tailevu by officials from the ministry under the supervision of a police officer.

Principal Fisheries Officer Central Shalendra Singh said it was disappointing to see the number of vendors who were still selling undersized crabs despite the continuous awareness sessions carried out in their villages and communities by the ministry.

“People have become ignorant of the fact that the crabs they are selling still need to grow and reach a certain size before they can be harvested. They choose to sell them anyway and it is a blatant disregard of the laws in place,” Mr Singh said.

“We will continue with our awareness sessions and seek the support of the villages and communities to assist us in sustaining our marine resources.

“Let us think of our future generations who will also need to enjoy the delicacies from the sea that we are enjoying today.”

Permanent Secretary for Fisheries Craig Strong said the ministry would also not tolerate any type of threats from market vendors who had their crabs or fish confiscated during the ministry’s operations.

Mr Strong reiterated that the ministry’s officials should be able to carry out their work without obstructions from vendors who do not comply with the fisheries regulations in place.

“Officers have been verbally abused and even threatened with physical violence. However, this will not deter us from our mandate of protecting, sustaining and managing our fisheries,” he said.

Mr Strong added that there would be an increase in presence of fisheries officials in these locations and anyone caught breaching the law would be prosecuted.

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