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Sea Cucumber Aquaculture in the Western Indian Ocean:  Challenges for Sustainable Livelihood and Stock Improvement
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Systems Ecology.
Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
2012 (English)In: Ambio, ISSN 0044-7447, Vol. 41, no 2, 109-121 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The decline in sea cucumber fisheries that serve the Asian dried seafood market has prompted an increase in global sea cucumber aquaculture. The tropical sandfish (Holothuria scabra) has in this context been reared and produced with mixed success. In the Western Indian Ocean, villagers often participate in the export fishery for sea cucumbers as a source of income. However, with a growing concern of depleted stocks introduction of hatcheries to farm sandfish as a community livelihood and to replenish wild stocks is being promoted. This review identifies and discusses a number of aspects that constitute constraints or implications with regard to development of sandfish farming in the region. The conclusion is that for sandfish farming to live up to its expectations the possible impacts need to be further studied, and that improved evaluation of ongoing projects is required. In the interim a precautionary approach towards new enterprise activities is suggested. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 41, no 2, 109-121 p.
Keyword [en]
Sandfish, Holothuria scabra, Farming, Re-stocking, Environmental impacts, Governance
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-75521DOI: 10.1007/s13280-011-0195-8ISI: 000303464700001OAI: diva2:516982
Available from: 2012-04-20 Created: 2012-04-20 Last updated: 2012-10-02Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Managing sea cucumber fisheries and aquaculture: Studies of social-ecological systems in the Western Indian Ocean
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Managing sea cucumber fisheries and aquaculture: Studies of social-ecological systems in the Western Indian Ocean
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Collecting sea cucumbers to supply the high value Chinese dried seafood market is a livelihood activity available to many people in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO), making it an important part of local economies. These fisheries are generally not successfully managed and tropical sea cucumber fisheries show continuing signs of decline. This thesis takes a social-ecological systems approach to guide better management of sea cucumber fisheries and aquaculture in the WIO. Papers 1 and 2 analyse the fishery situation in Zanzibar and find that in the absence of effective management institutions and income alternatives among fishers, leading to dependence, there are unsustainable expanding processes. Paper 3 compares the unmanaged fishery in Zanzibar to the highly controlled situation in Mayotte. In Mayotte, a protection effect is evident and the commercial value of stocks is significantly higher than in Zanzibar. The analysis of the situation in Mayotte demonstrates the importance of matching the fishery – management temporal scales through prepared and adaptive management to avoid processes that reinforce unsustainable expansion. Paper 4 analyses sea cucumber community spatial distribution patterns at a coastal seascape-scale in Mayotte establishing baseline patterns of habitat utilization and abundance, which can be used as reference in management. Paper 5 reviews the potential for sea cucumber aquaculture in the WIO. The review illustrates that this activity, which is currently gaining momentum, does so based on inflated promises and with significant social-ecological risks. Emphasis for improvements is, in this thesis, placed on the importance of prepared and adaptive institutions to govern and control expanding processes of the fishery. These institutional features may be achieved by increasing the level of knowledge and participation in governance and by integration of sea cucumber resources management into higher-level policy initiatives.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University, 2012. 43 p.
Sea cucumbers, Bêche-de-mer, Trepang, Echinoderms, Fisheries, Aquaculture, Governance, Trade, Seafood, Tropical seascape, Zanzibar, Mayotte, Western Indian Ocean
National Category
Research subject
Marine Ecotoxicology
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-75515 (URN)978-91-7447-515-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-06-01, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Manuscript.

Available from: 2012-05-10 Created: 2012-04-20 Last updated: 2012-10-08Bibliographically approved

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Eriksson, HampusTroell, Max
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