|PARDI scoping study addresses competitiveness of small-scale fishers|
|Monday, 06 August 2012 14:48|
PARDI researchers from Australia, Tonga and Kiribati have highlighted the strong level of interest and need among Pacific Islands fishers for sea cucumber processing and marketing information following a scoping study on issues surrounding the competitiveness of small-scale fishers in the Western Pacific.
Beginning in early 2011, the ultimate goal of the PARDI research was to help develop ways to improve the competitiveness of small-scale fishers within local and international marketplaces and to improve the contribution of the fisheries to national GDPs.
PARDI Project leader and Southern Cross University Researcher Dr Steven Purcell, has posted a video on YouTube containing footage and commentary on some of the associated fisheries surveys. To view the video, go to: http://youtu.be/nzxPlrQyw3Q
Sea cucumbers are prized for their export value to Asian markets and are particularly important to coastal Pacific Island communities. Some species from the Pacific attract prices of over US$500 in Chinese markets for large, well-processed, dried product. To prepare for sale, sea cucumber are cut, gutted, salted, cooked and dried into an exportable product called beche-de-mer. Unfortunately, artisanal fishers who collect the sea cucumbers often lose potential income through poor post-harvest processing or inequitable supply chains.
The PARDI scoping study incorporated two key areas of research:
Key research findings
Special thanks are given to the committed agencies and competent researchers who played vital roles in the scoping study. This project would not have been possible without the ongoing support of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, and Southern Cross University. The overall outcome of this project places ACIAR in a strong position to achieve high-quality research and fantastic results in a future implementation project.
Sea cucumber research linkages
The PARDI scoping study links in with a global research paper, ‘Sea cucumber fisheries: a global analysis of stocks, management measures and drivers of overfishing’. This article was supported by input from PARDI and highlighted a gap in understanding the social science behind successful sea cucumber management. Web link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-2979.2011.00443.x/abstract
The PARDI study also complements a 2011 workshop involving fisheries managers from 13 Pacific Island Nations who were brought together to discuss management measures to achieve industry sustainability. Fishery managers at the workshop, ‘Sea Cucumber Fisheries: an Ecosystem Approach to Management in the Pacific ’, recommended for funding of training programmes to improve the technical capacity of Pacific fishers in post-harvest processing of sea cucumbers. Web link: http://www.fao.org/docrep/015/i2658e/i2658e00.htm
A pending report from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (ICUN), due to be released in 2013, will echo the level of concern across the globe regarding sea cucumber biodiversity and the potential environmental and social impacts of overfishing. A number of the valuable Pacific sea cucumber species are expected to be classed as threatened under IUCN criteria. Web link: http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Photo Caption (left): Sea cucumber fishers on Tarawa next to sea cucumbers they harvested, which are drying in the sun in their garden. These i-Kiribati fishers lack information about how best to process the animals into the dried form and consequently miss out on the higher prices they could get from exporters for A-grade product.