Socioeconomic impacts of a sea cucumber fishery in Papua New Guinea: is there an opportunity for mariculture?

Hair, Cathy, Foale, Simon, Kinch, Jeff, Frijlink, Sven, Lindsay, Daniel, and Southgate, Paul C. (2019) Socioeconomic impacts of a sea cucumber fishery in Papua New Guinea: is there an opportunity for mariculture? Ocean & Coastal Management, 179. 104826.

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Abstract

Small-scale fisheries provide many benefits to coastal communities in the Indo-Pacific region, including food security, improved nutrition and cash income. However, increasing engagement with the global economy is exerting additional pressure on marine resources and opportunities to engage in alternative livelihoods are often limited by remoteness and a lack of land-based farming opportunities. Bêche-de-mer, the dried body wall of sea cucumber, is a valuable marine export commodity in the region, and an important cash-earning activity in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Sea cucumber mariculture (or holothuriculture), based on the high-value species, sandfish (Holothuria scabra), is also a promising community livelihood. Overfishing of sea cucumber in PNG led the National Fisheries Authority (NFA) to impose a moratorium on the fishery in October 2009. The fishery was reopened in 2017 for less than two months. This article presents socioeconomic data generated before, during and after the 2017 sea cucumber fishing season in three villages in New Ireland Province, PNG, which are also partners in a community-based sandfish mariculture project. The fishery dominated the economies of all three communities while it was open. Increased income was accompanied by high consumption of store-bought foods and purchase of other assets intended to increase living standards. Drawing on current understandings of local culture and political economy, together with the results from the 2017 wild sea cucumber fishery, we discuss how a livelihood based on holothuriculture could coexist with the wild fishery to increase benefits to coastal communities in PNG.

Item ID: 58472
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-524X
Funders: National Fisheries Authority of Papua New Guinea, Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research (ACIAR)
Projects and Grants: ACIAR FIS/2014/061
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2019 02:52
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050102 Ecosystem Function @ 20%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management @ 80%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8301 Fisheries - Aquaculture > 830199 Fisheries - Aquaculture not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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