The ban on the sale and consumption of fish in Madang Province is affecting many islanders, today, they were forced to express their concerns to EMTV. Speaking on behalf of the islanders, Matthew Salung, a local fisherman, said all 6 MPs of Madang need to work together to find a solution to the Basamuk spill incident.
Salung said the fish ban has affected their source of income and it’s about time all MPs work together to find an amicable solution.
“I am now calling on the Madang Provincial Government, all six members including the Madang Governor to come forward and address the people who are affected by the food shortage, especially within the time frame of this fish ban – which is not measured,” Mr Salung said.
The group of islanders have been struggling to make ends meet since the ban on the sale and consumption of fish came into effect in September by the Madang Provincial Government.
They say they were not aware of the spill incident and were not prepared for the ban when it was imposed.
“It has already been three months, and this investigation will still continue, but ‘when’ is the period of deadline (ban to be lifted off fish consumption)?,” Mr Salung added.
It has been a struggle to provide food and generate revenue whilst providing other needs for their families each day. Luxcy Kambai, another local who depends on the sale of fish to provide for her family, says they are now selling coconuts to generate money to sustain themselves.
Previously, Kambai would make an average of K1000 each day – this would cater for food, boat fare, school fees and other needs; however, since the ban was imposed in September, they are struggling to meet her family’s needs.
“When this ban started, we were affected, we have children attending school, we have children who are sick, and we also take care of the household in terms of food. So whatever money we make from selling fish, that’s how we put it to use, and now with this ban, our children are also suffering.”
Since the ban was imposed two months ago, there has not been any activity in the Madang town market. Fishermen and women who use the venue to sell their catch are now trying other options to sustain themselves until such time that the ban is lifted.
The islanders are asking all elected leaders of Madang Province to work together in the interest of their people.
“I want to know where the Governor and our MPs are, where are they?” Serrie Jallenrou, another local fisherman asked.
By Martha Louis – EMTV News, Madang