Numerous individuals contributed to the successful organization and implementation of the sea cucumber workshop in Dalian. All of them are acknowledged for their enthusiastic efforts and contributions during the preparatory phases and at the workshop itself.
Special thanks are due to the Ministry of Agriculture, People's Republic of China, for hosting the workshop and for providing excellent logistical support, notably through the endless efforts of Ms Wang Jin, Deputy Division Chief, Division of Cooperation and Exchange of the National Fishery Technical Extension Centre, and her colleagues.
The preparation of the workshop programme, identification of the various experts and scientific and editorial support throughout this activity was possible thanks to the immense work of all members of the Programme Committee established almost one year before the workshop took place. The dedication and enthusiasm of Prof. Chantal Conand, Laboratoire ECOMAR (La Réunion, France), Dr Steven Purcell, WorldFish Center, Pacific Office (Noumea, New Caledonia), Dr Sven Uthicke, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (Townsville, Australia), Dr Jean-François Hamel and Dr Annie Mercier, Society for the Exploration & Valuing of the Environment (Katevale, Canada), will hopefully become apparent after reading this document.
Participation of the experts at the workshop was possible through the assistance of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as well as of a number of other regional and national bodies and institutions. The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), the WorldFish Center, the University of Hull (United Kingdom) and the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA) are acknowledged for their contributions. Thanks are also given to all the institutions that have permitted their experts to prepare for and attend the workshop. Special thanks should go to the Fisheries Research Institute of Hainan Province, the Yantai Fisheries Research Institute, the Liaoning Marine Fisheries Research Institute, the Yellow Sea Fisheries Research Institute and the Dalian Fisheries University for supporting the participation of their experts.
The workshop organizers also wish to thank the representatives of the Dalian Bang Chuidao Marine Products and the Dalian Youde Marine Biological Garden for allowing the workshop participants to tour their commercial sea cucumber hatchery and on-growing facilities. The hospitality was appreciated and provided a tangible opportunity to observe the progress made in China PR in sea cucumber aquaculture and the extent of the industry.
Last, but not least, much appreciation goes to Prof. Chen Jiaxin, former director of the Yellow Sea Fisheries Research Institute in Qingdao for his pivotal role played from the very start of this activity. Finally, the opportunity is taken to thank all the FAO staff members in Rome and Beijing who have contributed in one way or another in the organization of the workshop and, particularly, Ms Mairi Page for her valuable and constant assistance.
Additional editorial assistance was also provided by Dr John Ryder. Layout creation by Mr José Luis Castilla.