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Population status, fisheries and trade of sea cucumbers in Asia
Choo, P.-S. (2008). Population status, fisheries and trade of sea cucumbers in Asia, in: Toral-Granda, V. et al. (Ed.) Sea Cucumbers, a global review of fisheries and trade. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper, 516: pp. 81-118
In: Toral-Granda, V.; Lovatelli, A.; Vasconcellos, M. (Ed.) (2008). Sea Cucumbers, a global review of fisheries and trade. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper, 516. FAO: Rome, Italy. ISBN 978-92-5-106079-7. 317 pp., more
In: FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper. FAO/Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: Rome. ISSN 2070-7010, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Choo, P.-S.

    The regional review on the population status, fisheries and trade of commercially important sea cucumbers in Asia covers the east and southeast Asian regions including Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Viet Nam, Philippines, Singapore, the Spratly Islands, Japan, Democratic People’s Republic Korea, Republic of Korea, Far East Russian Federation, China Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) and Taiwan Province of China (PC). A total of 52 species are commercially exploited as food with most of them comprising tropical and sub-tropical species from the families Holothuriidae and Stichopodidae, including the genus Holothuria, Actinopyga, Bohadschia and Stichopus. Fisheries in the Asian tropical and sub-tropical waters are multi-species, while the fishery in temperate waters is single species, comprising predominantly only one species, Apostichopus japonicus. Fishing and seafaring communities in Asia had been involved in sea cucumber fishing and processing since the sixteenth century. The fresh animals caught were processed into dried forms known as “trepang”. Indonesia is the world’s top producer of Holothuroidea from the capture fishery. Indonesia, together with the Philippines produced an annual average of 47 percent of the world’s Holothuroidea landings, comprising an annual average of 2 572 tonnes (wet weight) between 2000 and 2005. The highest capture fishery producer of the temperate species, A. japonicus is Japan, with an average production of 8 101 tonnes per year between 2000 and 2005. The sea cucumber capture statistics obtained from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) are recorded in wet weights; for landings in Southeast Asia the figures appear to be grossly underestimated, and the statistics need to be verified as to whether the data reported were actually dried and not wet weight. Except for China, where a substantial amount of sea cucumber production is from aquaculture (an estimated annual production of 10 000 tonnes dry weight), the production in the other Asian countries is derived predominantly, if not exclusively, from capture fisheries. Apart from gleaning, the most common fishing methods for sea cucumbers include small bottom trawl nets in sandy bottoms, scallop-drag gear in nearshore rocky-bottom habitats, spears, hooks and scoop nets for reefs, and SCUBA and hookah for deeper reef and lagoons. Overfishing is the main problem contributing to the depletion of sea cucumber resources. Except for Japan, other Asian countries are generally lacking in management measures to conserve and sustain their sea cucumber fisheries. The two most important producing countries, Indonesia and the Philippines do not have management plans specific to sea cucumber conservation. Other threats to sustaining the sea cucumber resources include habitat loss, lack of accurate statistics, global warming and new uncontrolled uses (such as for pharmaceuticals and nutriceuticals) for sea cucumber resources.

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