In the latter half of 2012 and early 2013 Nautilus undertook a review of the sea cucumber fisheries and bêche-de-mer (cooked and dried sea cucumber) trade in five island countries of the South Pacific - Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga. This followed evidence of long-term over-exploitation of these resources, which had lead to the closure of fisheries in a number of countries to allow stocks to recover. Long a source of essential cash income to some very isolated island communities, poor management of fishing and its associated export trade can have major repercussions not only on household income but on the quality of the marine environment from which families derive the fish and shellfish that form such an important part of the diet in these coastal communities.
The findings of this work were presented at the 8th SPC Heads of Fisheries meeting in Noumea in March 2013, and also to the Fisheries Technical Advisory committee of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), held in Port Vila, Vanuatu, in May 2013.
The full report can be downloaded from SPC's FAME library at http://www.spc.int/DigitalLibrary/Doc/FAME/Reports/Carleton_13_BDM_Management.pdf.
A summary of the report and its findings formed the main theme of the mid-2013 edition of the SPC Fisheries Newsletter, and this is accessible via: http://www.spc.int/DigitalLibrary/Doc/FAME/InfoBull/FishNews/140/FishNews140_24_Carleton.pdf