The FSM Supreme Court has issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) preventing the Pohnpei government and a Chinese company from harvesting sea cucumbers — a move lauded by conservationists.
Sea cucumber has been a valuable source of income for the communities in remote areas of the Pacific region such as Pohnpei in the FSM.
There is also a demand for its processed form — the beche-de-mer — for subsistence use and commercial export to China and other Asian markets.
But unregulated commercial harvesting is causing a depletion of this resource.
The FSM government says they have received communications from concerned citizens and organizations regarding their views on the TRO on the Pohnpei State Government issued by the FSM Supreme Court which concerns Marcelo Peterson (the governor of the State of Pohnpei), Albert Augustine (the state administrator of the Office of Fisheries & Aquaculture), and Young Sun International Trading Company, a Chinese company with a commercial contract to extract sea cucumbers from the state.
The TRO prevents the named parties from conducting a harvest of sea cucumbers within Pohnpei waters.
FSM President David Panuelo says: “It is entirely incidental that the court instituted an order that aligns with his administration’s stated priority of environmental protection.”
He says “their administration has every good faith and intention to honor the Supreme Court’s order.”
President Panuelo added: “All citizens and residents in the FSM have the right to due process under the law, and I have full faith in the judicial branch, as a co-equal power with the executive and legislative branches, to accomplish its mandate.”