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Population status, fisheries and trade of sea cucumbers in Latin America and the Caribbean
Toral-Granda, V. (2008). Population status, fisheries and trade of sea cucumbers in Latin America and the Caribbean, in: Toral-Granda, V. et al. (Ed.) (2008). Sea Cucumbers, a global review of fisheries and trade. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper, 516: pp. 213-226
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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Keyword
    Marine

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  • Toral-Granda, V.

Abstract
    The region under study comprises a total of 25 countries where, although there are some sea cucumber fisheries, scant information exists about them. There are eleven species of sea cucumbers currently harvested for commercial use in the region, with legal and illegal fisheries currently occurring in Mexico, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Peru, Venezuela and Chile. In most of the countries where a fishery exists, there is hardly any biological or ecological information as well as little knowledge on the population status and even, in some cases, the taxonomy of the species under commercial exploitation. In most countries with ongoing fisheries, no management measures are in place and new species are normally being incorporated to the fishing activities. Although sea cucumber fishing it is not a traditional activity, some households have become highly dependent on this fishery, with increasing pressure towards decision makers to allow such activity. Despite the total bans on certain countries for this activity, exports are being recorded in China Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR). Furthermore, the available catch and trade statistics reveal that a high level of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) activities are currently taking place. Amongst the major threats to sea cucumber populations in the region, one can mention the development of fisheries with little or no information on the species, its biology, ecology and population status. Additionally, the permanent search of new species to supply the bêche-de-mer markets poses a serious threat to the wellbeing of not only sea cucumber populations but for the ecosystem as well. Sea cucumber fisheries have arrived to the furthermost fishing grounds available. The impact of this activity on the population status and socio-economic dependence by local fishers are noticeable, especially for an area where no knowledge or political will exists so as to avoid an overexploitation spiral that may leave few species in the brink of extinction

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