Beyond boom, bust and ban: the sandfish (Holothuria scabra) fishery in the Tigak Islands, Papua New Guinea

Hair, Cathy, Foale, Simon, Kinch, Jeff, Yaman, Luanah, and Southgate, Paul C. (2016) Beyond boom, bust and ban: the sandfish (Holothuria scabra) fishery in the Tigak Islands, Papua New Guinea. Regional Studies in Marine Science, 5. pp. 69-79.

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Sea cucumber, processed into beche-de-mer (BDM), is one of the oldest commercial marine commodities in the Pacific Islands Region. Sea cucumber fisheries in the Pacific have historically followed boom and bust cycles. Papua New Guinea (PNG) was an important supplier of BDM to Asian markets until overfishing of sea cucumbers led to a moratorium being declared by the PNG National Fisheries Authority (NFA) in 2009. The Tigak Islands in New Ireland Province were the site of a targeted fishery for the high-value sea cucumber sandfish (Holothuria scabra) for a short period in the late 1980s before it was overfished. The history of sandfish exploitation in the Tigak Islands has been comparatively well documented, and it is described here using published articles, fisheries and export data, and contemporary interviews. Sea cucumber fisheries are very difficult to manage effectively to maintain sustainable yields. The PNG NFA is revising their National Beche-de-mer Management Plan to be implemented when the sea cucumber fishery reopens. Sandfish is regarded as a promising aquaculture candidate that may provide livelihood options for remote coastal communities in New Ireland Province and elsewhere in PNG. The next phase of the Tigak Islands' sandfish fishery has exciting potential for mariculture to be integrated into fisheries management strategies but its success relies on fishers adopting more sustainable harvesting practices, and BDM buyers promoting better quality processing.

Item ID: 49261
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2352-4855
Keywords: Holothuria scabra, sea cucumber, beche-de-mer, overfishing, management, mariculture
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A version of this publication was included as Chapter 1 of the following PhD thesis: Hair, Catherine Ann (2020) Development of community-based mariculture of sandfish, Holothuria scabra, in New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea. PhD thesis, James Cook University, which is available Open Access in ResearchOnline@JCU. Please see the Related URLs for access.

Funders: Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research (ACIAR), National Fisheries Authority (NFA)
Projects and Grants: ACIAR FIS/2010/054
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2017 03:14
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410406 Natural resource management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8302 Fisheries - Wild Caught > 830299 Fisheries- Wild Caught not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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