SUVA, June 1 (Xinhua) -- The Fijian government imposed a seasonal ban on grouper and coral trout on Saturday, and any person or business found harvesting, selling, possessing or exporting these two species of fish during the four-month moratorium will have their fish confiscated and will receive high fines.
According to a statement from Fiji's Ministry of Fisheries, these two species of fish have reduced drastically in its numbers over the past years and spawning ensures that future generations will be able to enjoy the same species in the years to come.
More than 80 percent of Fiji's known grouper and coral trout breeding sites are either declining or have been lost. One study found fish landings of grouper have declined 70 percent over 30 years, with some areas of the island nation hardly catching the prized fish anymore.
The grouper and coral trout peak breading months are June through September. The ban covers that period of time each year, from June 1 to Sept. 30 and is designed to ensure these fish breed and restock Fiji's reefs.
This is the second year for Fiji to start the ban, which was officially enacted in June 2018.
Fiji and the Pacific region were highly dependent on coastal fisheries resources. In Fiji, more than half of its 900,000 population depend on the ocean and fish as a source of income and livelihood.
The fishing industry exports up to 400 million Fijian dollars' (about 184.3 million U.S. dollars) worth of fish products annually which contributes about 2.9 percent to Fiji's GDP.