Putting into practice an ecosystem approach to managing sea cucumber fisheries

Putting into practice an
ecosystem approach to
managing sea cucumber

Cover design by Emanuela DAntoni and Jos Luis Castilla with photos by Steven Purcell

Rome, 2010

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ISBN 978-92-5-106660-7

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FAO 2010

Putting into practice an ecosystem approach to managing sea
cucumber fisheries. Rome, FAO. 2010. 81 pp.


Artisanal and industrialized fishers from more than 40 countries harvest more than 60 species of sea cucumbers. These low-food-chain resources play important roles in nutrient recycling and sediment health in marine habitats. Owing to ease of capture and vulnerable biological traits, sea cucumbers have been easily overexploited in most countries, sometimes to local extinction. Few sea cucumber fisheries are currently managed sustainably. They differ greatly in the scale of the fishing activities, status of stocks and management capacity.
This document summarizes general management principles and a general framework for developing and implementing a management plan. Through a few questions and simple indicators, managers are guided to choose appropriate sets of regulatory measures and management actions for different sea cucumber fisheries.
Safeguarding sea cucumber stocks for current and future generations will require an ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF) that applies precautionary measures with the participation of stakeholders. Success in applying an EAF will require consideration of the reproductive productivity of stocks, ecosystem health and the socio-economic systems that drive exploitation.


Preparation of this document (Download pdf 782 Kb)

Characteristics of sea cucumber fisheries
Management principles
The ecosystem approach to fisheries
The management process, indicators and reference points
A road map for choosing the right tools
Fishery regulations

Actions to implement management (Download pdf 631 Kb)

Glossary (Download pdf 147 Kb)
Further reading