Declining sea cucumber stocks are driving multinational research collaborations to improve breeding and rearing techniques, for the benefit of local communities.
One hundred researchers, government and NGP representatives attended Asia-Pacific Sea Cucumber Aquaculture Symposium in February 2011, where they discussed the potential of commercially cultivating one of the most desirable tropical species of sea cucumber, Holothuria scabra, also known as sandfish.
"The aim is to ensure all levels of sea cucumber cultivation can be undertaken at a community level, maximizing the benefit to communities", said Dr. David Mills, WorldFish, who oversees the ACIAR research.
Projects in the Philippines, Vietnam and Australia were discussed at the symposium, which identified some benefits, obstacles and risks to commercial sea cucumber cultivation.
• alternating sea cucumber and shrimp crops may help control the environmental damage of shrimp production;
• marine disease control through crop diversification;
• improved hatching and breeding techniques;
• local employment opportunities.
Obstacles and risks
• Obstacles include poaching, typhoons and other natural disturbances.
• There is a need to assess the genetic risk as non-indigenous stock is introduced into fished-out sea cucumber areas.
ACIAR and WorldFish have been investing in sea cucumber cultivation research in Vietnam, the Philippines, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, Fiji and Australia since the mid–1990s. Read the article here and for more information on the project visit the WorldFish website.
WorldFish, a member of the CGIAR Consortium, is an international, nonprofit research organization committed to reducing poverty and hunger through fisheries and aquaculture.
CGIAR is a global agriculture research partnership for a food secure future. Its science is carried out by the 15 research centers who are members of the CGIAR Consortium in collaboration with hundreds of partner organizations.
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