[Coral-List] how sea cucumbers became gold for organized crime

Douglas Fenner douglasfennertassi at gmail.com
Fri Apr 30 19:16:20 UTC 2021

American Samoa banned all export of sea cucumbers.  Then the buyers left.
I don't know of any sustainable commercial sea cucumber fishery (whIch
doesn't mean there aren't any), but Pacific peoples do eat them and human
populations are small enough some places to probably have small impacts on
them.  I don't know off hand of any sea cucumber mariculture.  Like most
other echinoderms they broadcast spawn and have pelagic larvae.  I know
there are successful sea urchin mariculture projects, but it is my
impression that learning how to feed and keep the larvae alive and get them
to settle and then feed them is not trivially easy.  Cheaper and simpler to
just buy them until they are depleted and then move on.  Some sea cucumbers
do asexual reproduction, twist themselves in two and then regenerate the
lost parts.  Maybe that could be used, but it might not be a species that
is eaten, some are eaten and others not.  People much prefer some species
over others.  Production would have to be enormous to bring prices down,
the potential market in Chinese culture is enormous.
    Cheers, Doug

On Fri, Apr 30, 2021 at 1:40 AM Bryce Bray <bewambaybray at gmail.com> wrote:

> I would say you help set up local and ecosystem-integrated mariculture
> businesses to increase supply, which would decrease prices over time,
> decreasing the incentive to collect illegally.
> Though there will be problems with this approach as well.
> Best,
> Bryce
> On Fri, Apr 30, 2021 at 8:32 AM Douglas Fenner via Coral-List <
> coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> wrote:
>> 'Aphrodisiac' of the ocean: how sea cucumbers became gold for organized
>> crime
>> https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/apr/12/sea-cucumbers-organised-crime-smuggling-aphrodisiac-biodiversity-sri-lanka-india
>> Do the importing countries bear any responsibility??
>> How do you reduce or ban a practice that is so popular??
>> Cheers, Doug
>> --
>> Douglas Fenner
>> Lynker Technologies, LLC, Contractor
>> NOAA Fisheries Service
>> Pacific Islands Regional Office
>> Honolulu
>> and:
>> Coral Reef Consulting
>> PO Box 997390
>> Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799-6298  USA
>> _______________________________________________
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>> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
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