Merauke, 19/2 (Jubi) – Eleven Merauke residents representing 189 sea cucumbers catchers in Papua New Guinea waters went to the Legislative Council (DPRD) of Merauke Regency on Tuesday (19/2) for the second time to protest a ban on sea cucumber hunting.
Two sea cucumber catchers told tabloidjubi.com after the hearing they often heard rumors about ten ‘big bosses’ or leaders of the sea cucumber business giving five million rupiah to officers at the Merauke based naval station (Lantamal XI) for every hunting trip.
Rumor has it that they also give two bags of sea cucumbers to Lantamal XI officers in Torasi Station after returning from each trip.
“It is true that we heard rumors about the owners of sea cucumber business depositing five million rupiahs to Lantamal XI Merauke. But we are not sure as we are only the workers,” said one sea cucumber hunter.
Deputy Chairman of DPRD Merauke, Matheus Liem Gebze said he also heard the rumors.
“But we just cannot prove whether the information is true or not. If it was true, it should be stopped and not be allowed. Security forces have salaries. It is their task and responsibility to guard anyone including those who run their activities in the sea. They need to consider the risks encountered by those catchers when they are in the sea. So it’s not right if they should give then some money” Gebze said.
A spokesman for Lantamal XI Merauke, Mayor Goeroeh, said he had met the deputy commander of Lantamal and was told not to comment on the allegations because he was not authorized to do so. “The chief is currently on an official visit to Jakarta,” he said on Wednesday (19/2). (Jubi/Frans L. Kobun/rom)