Peni Loloma of Natuvu village holding a curry fish ready to be cooked and dried. Picture: Ministry of Information
VILLAGERS of Natuvu in Wailevu, Cakaudrove, are enjoying the fruits of their labour with an initial harvest of 177 kilograms of sea cucumber curry fish or beche-de-mer earning them $13,000.
According to the Information Ministry, the Dairo Fisheries project also benefited from a traditional fishing ban that resulted in an abundance of different species of beche-de-mer. The first harvest and drying of curry fish took 13 days and was sold to Gold Hold Company in Labasa at $80 per kg.
Savusavu fisheries officer Joji Vakawaletabua said the village elders initiated the project after placing a traditional ban on their fishing areas since September 2008.
Mr Vakawaletabua said the Fisheries Department provided the advice on the project and employed six village representatives. Village headman Tuisavusavu Vola said after 18 months, elders on the advice by fisheries officers, lifted the ban.
"They aim to harvest a total of 300 kilos of curry fish before the traditional fishing ban resumes," Mr Vakawaletabua said.
"The $13,000 gained from the first harvest will be divided into three categories ù $7000 for the building of an evacuation centre, $3000 for education and $3000 for the village bank account. At the moment they are harvesting the other 127 kilos."