Provincial Fisheries Officers inthe Milne Bey Province have warned villagers not to use poisonous methods of fishing.
The warning comes afterthe Watunou and Daduwe villages were caught usingthe poisonous part of a local plant in fishing which wiped out small fish in that particular area.
The poison fromthe derris root or “tuwa” inthe local vernacular not only killsthe targeted fish but wipes outthe entire marine organism and destroysthe ecosystem.
Derris is a climbing leguminous plant of South East Asia andthe southwest Pacific Islands, including Papua New Guinea Its roots contain rotenone, a strong insecticide and fish poison.
Also known as derris powder, it was formerly used as an organic insecticide used to control pests on crops such as peas. However, due to studies revealing its extreme toxicity, as well as due tothe concentration level of rotenone to whichthe powder is often refined, experts in ecological and organic growing no longer consider it ecologically sound.
Prolonged use ofthe derris root can deplete fish stock in local areas.
Underthe Fisheries Management Act 1998, a fine of K5, 000 or 2 years imprisonment applies tothe offenders.
Pictured: Derris plant.