Hundreds of people from Blacksands, Kokoreko, Man Ples and Malapoa converged at Blacksands beach in the vicinity of Port Vila Thursday morning when the paramount chief of Ifira, Teriki Paunimanu Mantaoi Kalsakau III lifted the ban on harvesting of marine resources.

The paramount chief and his council traveled by banana boat to Blacksands where he declared the ban on the full length of Blacksands to Prime River lifted for the five days of the Easter weekend to allow the people of the area to be able to fish the area to supplement their protein during the weekend celebration of Easter.

Teriki Mantoi Kalsakau III said he was glad to open the ban on the area to assist the people living on the areas around the Blacksands sea coast. He added that the ban on the harvesting of marine resources was important to enable the coast is full of fish again. In recent years the full coast was so overfished that fishermen had to go far out to sea in canoes and mostly boats to be able to catch fish.

He said the ban will be back in place on Tuesday after the Easter holiday was over and last another two to two-and-a-half years before a similar lifting of the ban can take place.

The people Ifira that look after the ban organized the day that saw nets that had been cast hours before drawn and others on canoes catch fish and shared the catch with families to take home while some of the catch was cooked at the beach for the people to eat.

The Ifira Community-based Resource Management ban on harvesting of marine resources in the area from Prima River to Kawenu was put in place towards the end of last year and the paramount chief says it will be there for the next 12 years with periodical lifting of the ban to allow community harvesting to take place.

Jonas Cullwick, a former General Manager of VBTC is now a Senior Journalist with the Daily Post. Contact: Cell # 678 5460922

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