The Solomon Islands Government, last Sunday collected the last batch of bech-de-mer from the tiny island of Ontong Java after the people voluntarily surrendered the bags last week to the Ministry of Fisheries.The last batch of more than 600 bags were brought from the island are worth SBD$10million. The national government had to charter the local boat, MV Nonano III for the shipment. Last week, the first shipment of a 100 bags, worth around SBD$4million arrived on MV Ortega in the Capital early last week.
According to Dr, Reginald Apia, who is quite instrumental in the process, there are no bags of bech-de-mer left on the island. The People in Ontong Java will wait to see if the Government will pay them for the harvest.
The people of Ontong Java had lodged a petition to the national government to sought for leniency, at which the government agreed to legally dispose the bech-de-mer harvest for the locals, if they voluntarily surrender their harvest.
It is understood that all proceeds from the export will be paid into a consolidated fund, from which the Government will then decide, how much of the revenue collected will be returned to the locals of Ontong Java.