The sea cucumber fishery

The sea cucumber fishery is one of the fisheries which began in the early 1980’s. The fishery experienced a rapid development and by 1999 there were already signs of stock depletion, including lower volumes of high value species and fishermen having to travel further and dive deeper to maintain catch rates, and concerns were raised regarding the sustainability of the fishery. The Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) implemented some management measures in 1999 in response to local depletion of some species.

Currently there are 25 licenses to harvest and 4 licenses to process sea cucumber. The vessels operating in the fishery is composed of 8 crew members per vessel with 4 divers, 1 cook, 1 skipper, 1 boat boy and 1 apprentice. The fishing season for sea cucumber runs for 9 months, from 15th September 2020 to 15 June 2021.  Previously, there were no limits on catch and the specie composition. However, in 2017 the SFA introduced a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for each specie and consequently, fishermen are only allowed to catch 3 species, namely flower teat fish, white teat fish and prickly red.

Below the Quota per Species

  FLOWER TEAT WHITE TEAT PRICKLY RED Total
Total Quota 281,250 56,250 37,500    375,000
     
Quota per vessel 11250 2250 1500  

 

 

According to catch data the dominant exploited species are the flower teat fish followed by the white teat fish and prickly red.

Catch data for the period 2000-2017

From the diagram above, the sea cucumber fishery recorded its highest catch of 642,404 pieces in 2011. The figure also shows that harvesting of flower teat fish has increased over the years, reaching its peak in 2012 with a total of 406,285 pieces. As from 2012, there has been a decline in the catch data recorded for sea cucumber.