Managing sea cucumber fisheries with an ecosystem approach
Island and Ocean Ecosystems
Sea cucumbers are important resources for coastal livelihoods and ecosystems. At least 60 species are fished from more than 40 countries and most of the harvests are processed then exported to Asian markets. Sea cucumbers generally appear to have slow rates of population turnover and are easily harvested in shallow waters in the tropics. With retail prices of up to USD300500 per kg (dried), exploitation has often been indiscriminant and excessive. Overfishing in recent years has led to local extinction of high-value species in some localities and prompted closures of many national fisheries to allow stocks to recover and to allow more sustainable management plans to be established. Apart from a few developed countries, only a small number of sea cucumber fisheries are currently being managed sustainably.