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Journal Article

Journal article

A Review of Recent Developments in the World Sea Cucumber Fisheries  [1993]

Conand, Chantal; Bryne, Maria;

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Sea cucumbers (Holothuridae and Stichopodidae) have been harvested commercially for at least 1,000 years. The world fisheries for sea cucumbers, however, are not well documented and in general are poorly managed. Depending upon the species exploited, there are two processing procedures for the sea cucumber product. Some species are eaten raw, while most commercial species are processed into a dry product called beche-de-mer or trepang. This dry product is exported to a central market such as Hong Kong and then re-exported to the consumers. In this review, recent statistics on the world sea cucumber fisheries, collected from different services, are detailed for each major fishing area. Case studies for each fishing area are also presented. Recent major changes in the Indo-Pacific fishery include the participation of new producer countries, the shift in the species being exploited, and an increase in the Chinese market. The expansion of the largely monospecific temperate North Pacific fisheries is also described. Statistics from Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and the Food and Agriculture Organization provide valuable information on the producer and importer countries. Particular attention is paid to the reciprocal trade of beche-de-mer between Hong Kong and Singapore. An evaluation of the world sea cucumber landings and beche-de-mer production is presented. Recent developments include an expansion of the Hong Kong market due to increased demand by China, the
importance of Indonesia as a major world producer, and an increase in the fisheries of Tropical Pacific nations. This increase is best documented for New Caledonia and Fiji. Ways to improve the access and the reliability of the statistics for the sea cucumber fishery are discussed, as is the potential for management of artisanal fisheries.