Local Sea Cucumber stock diminishing
Overfishing of sea cucumbers has been reported as a problem in many South Pacific island countries over the last few years and according to Alice Lawrence, a fisheries biologist at the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources, there has been a noticeable increase in sea cucumber fishing activities in the territory over the past few months.
In particular, Lawrence pointed out, several people were spotted on the reefs at Fagaalu and Utulei with coolers full of sea cucumbers last week.
According to information from DMWR, in most cases, the overfishing of sea cucumbers is linked to Asian businessmen “who wish to export the dried sea cucumbers to high-value markets in Asia.”
Lawrence reported that a few months ago, there were local reports of fishermen receiving $3 per sea cucumber for the larger more valuable redfish cucumbers.
“It may be a worrying sign that as of last week the fishermen were only receiving $10 for a full bucket of the less valuable black-colored sea cucumbers,” she said, adding that the redfish cucumbers are not usually as common on the reef as the spiny black ones, and following the recent fishing activity they might now be much rarer on our reefs.