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Reseeding depleted sea cucumbers

Manasa Kalouniviti
Wednesday, November 29, 2017

THE Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), in a first for the Pacific, has facilitated a regional exchange on Sandfish Aquaculture for Reseeding.

This exchange has brought together delegates from Fiji, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati and New Caledonia who over the past two months had travelled to PNG to see and experience first-hand the different practices employed in sandfish aquaculture throughout the region.

Sandfish is a type of sea cucumber found in tropical and sub-tropical areas of the Indo-Pacific region which are traded as bêche-de-mer and they are important for the food security and is also a livelihood of Pacific Island coastal communities.

Being easy to collect by women, men and children, and fetching high prices on the export market, sea cucumbers, are a vulnerable and often overexploited resource.

Reseeding of sea cucumber using juveniles produced in hatcheries is one technique available for restoring depleted stocks. The participants were members of countries with a long bêche-de-mer history and existing or fledgling programmes for reseeding and sea ranching of sandfish.

After decades of capacity building and investment from foreign aid programs, the South-South exchange funding provided by New Zealand Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade was a unique opportunity to showcase the expertise acquired in the region and to create a forum for regional experts to come out of the shadow of their international counterparts.

The exchange provided a platform for countries with differing technical abilities and stages of development to share regional-specific technical experience.

The participants gained practical skills and exposure to new techniques and modes of operation. Lessons learned from these experiences will be used to build capacity in their home countries, applying and developing the technical skills and knowledge to address local challenges.

The delegates made a significant commitment at the end of the workshop by pledging to continue to work together to create a collaborative working group for sharing knowledge and experience.

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