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Optimisation of mesh enclosures for nursery rearing of juvenile sea cucumbers

Mariculture of tropical sea cucumbers is promising, but the nursery rearing of juveniles is a bottleneck for farming and sea ranching. We conducted four medium-scale experiments lasting 3–6 weeks, using thousands of cultured juvenile sandfish Holothuria scabra, to optimise nursery rearing in mesh enclosures in earthen seawater ponds and to test rearing in enclosures in the sea. The findings and experimental approach should be valuable for optimising mariculture of other tropical sea cucumbers.

Development of sea cucumber production in the Asia-Pacific Region

Sea cucumbers like the sandfish species (Holothuria scabra) are a traditional commodity used for dietary and medicinal purposes in China and elsewhere in Asia. For many years, their harvest has supported livelihoods in coastal communities throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Yet their ease of capture, biological vulnerability, and expanding consumer base in middle-income China has led to precipitous declines in wild stocks. For example, in the Philippines, annual catches are now less than 30% of those enjoyed 25 years ago.


Culturing Coral for international aquarium trade.
Culturing coral for the international aquarium trade. Photo by Eran Brokovich

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