The death of a Ha’apai sea cucumber diver this morning was the third death of a fisherman in Tonga in the last six days. The unidentified man is believed to have suffered from decompression after diving for sea cucumbers in Tungua yesterday.
As the harvesting season for sea cucumbers draws to a close on September 30, a total of 10 licenses have been issued to local operators for export.
Tonga has reversed its decision to close the fishing of sea cucumbers for three years and re-opened in June with 10 licenses issued bringing the government some short term cash in licensing fees, but against the best advice of its fisheries experts who warn that closure is the best option for managing the sea cucumber stock sustainably.
Tonga has closed the fishing of sea cucumbers for three years, starting this year to allow the stock to recover from overfishing and illegal fishing.