Sea cucumber aquaculture symposiumUpdate: 4/9/2013
A research symposium in Nouméa has been organised by ACIAR and Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) to support the development of sustainable tropical sea cucumber aquaculture.
Sea cucumbers are in high demand for food and for their reported medicinal qualities. They are a critical source of cash income for many poor and remote coastal communities throughout the Asia Pacific.
Collected by divers in deep water, or women and children in the shallows, the sea cucumbers are dried before selling to traders. Their high value has led to over-exploitation, and sea cucumber fisheries are in crisis globally.
Since the mid-1990s, ACIAR and the WorldFish Center have been funding researchers in Vietnam, Philippines, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, Fiji and Australia to develop systems for farming sea cucumbers.
Recent research in Vietnam has simplified hatchery methods, meaning that farming and restoring wild populations becomes more viable in developing countries, isolated island and remote coastal communities.
Work with community organisations in the Philippines has pioneered community-based ‘sea ranching’ as a way of supplementing the income of local fishers and contributing to the rebuilding of wild populations.
More than 100 delegates at the Asia-Pacific Tropical Sea Cucumber Aquaculture Symposium will share recent advances in hatchery production technology, release strategies, farming techniques, management practices, post-harvest technologies for value adding and supply chains and marketing.