This issue of the SPC Beche-de-mer Information Bulletin contains 11 papers on sea cucumber research, aquaculture, and stock status. The breadth and depth of the research presented demonstrates the high level of interest on the part of the scientific community in sea cucumbers.
The first paper is from the Darwin Aquaculture Centre. Michelle Simoes and Jens Knauer report on experiments using the fluorochrome OTC to mark dermal spicules of juvenile Holothuria scabra.
The second paper is by Fatemah Ghobadyan and colleagues, who investigated the macroscopic and microscopic characteristics of gonadal tubules in Holothuria leucospilota off the coast of Iran in the Persian Gulf.
Mélanie Demeuldre and Igor Eeckhaut analysed gonadal development in various sizes of Holothuria scabra from Madagascar. The authors show that germinal cells are only distinguishable from somatic cells when sea cucumbers are 10 cm long.
Andrew Morgan presents a growth model to estimate size-at-age for the temperate sea cucumber Australostichopus mollis.
Kun Xing and colleagues give information about the cage culture of Apostichopus japonicus that were transplanted from northern China to the Shengsi Islands in southern China. The co-culture of sea cucumbers with abalone shows great potential for aquaculture.
Hampus Eriksson and colleagues investigated how the size of Stichopus chloronotus differs between a back-reef seagrass area and the proximal hard benthic reef flat at a site in Mayotte, and analysed habitat utilization in relation to size (as a proxy for age).
Poh Sze Choo describes the sea cucumber fishery in Semporna, Malaysia and examines the size and sustainability of the fishery. Semporna’s sea cucumber fishery appears to be heavily fished and there are no regulations to control the overfishing of sea cucumbers.
Abdul-Reza Dabbagh and Mohammad Reza Sedaghat describe spawning inductions of Holothuria scabra that were achieved for the first time in Iran in September 2011. The authors reared individuals and obtained one-year-old juveniles that averaged 22 g in weight.
Mohamed Hamza Hasan and colleagues surveyed sea cucumber populations in the Gulf of Aqaba (Egypt, Red Sea) 10 years after fishing activity ceased, and compared their data with findings from previous samplings carried out in the same area in 1995, 2002 and 2003.
Majid Afkhami and colleagues provide data about sea cucumber fishing methods, processing and distribution at Qeshm Island in the Persian
Gulf. The authors determined that sea cucumber stocks at Qeshm Island are actually healthy but advocate that the ban on harvesting them should continue.
Jeff Kinch briefly reports on his observation of juvenile Stichopus vastus in Pohnpei Lagoon, Federated States of Micronesia.
Congratulations are due to Shamari Dissanayake who recently completed her PhD dissertation on sea cucumber management. We also wish a happy retirement to Prof Michel Jangoux, who is known worldwide as a brilliant expert in echinoderm biology. A list of his publications on holothurians is presented in this issue.