Coastal Fisheries Programme

Number 157 (September–December 2018)

Produced by the Pacific Community, Division of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems, Information Section, BP D5, 98848 Noumea Cedex, New Caledonia

Produced with financial assistance from the Australian Government, the European Union, France and the New Zealand Aid Programme


Very large sea cucumbers, as those proudly displayed in the picture below, have been named ‘Pacific black gold’, probably because they fetch very high prices, but most certainly because they are fast becoming as rare as gold in the region.

In 2012, fisheries authorities in French Polynesia decided to close a rapidly expanding sea cucumber fishery until a management plan was in place. Arsène Stein describes in detail (link) the approach taken by the Department of Marine Resources to develop this management plan, which involved communities in the monitoring and control of the fishery. Interestingly, overall beche-de-mer production sharply declined when regulations – including seasonal closures, quotas set per atoll, and minimum sizes imposed for each species – were put in place at the end of 2012, and quotas have not been fully utilised since then. At the same time, however, the declared export value per kilo almost tripled, proving that limiting the catch to large individuals by imposing minimum size limits could have a spectacular effect on the value of the catch. If size limits, used primarily to protect animals until they have had time to reach sexual maturity, have such a positive effect on the value of the catch, they should be used (and firmly enforced) for all sea cucumber fisheries in the Pacific Islands region, particularly where quotas are almost impossible to evenly share between localities and communities, and prove to be extremely difficult to monitor efficiently.

Be reassured, sea cucumbers are not the only topic discussed in this issue. Authors also relate surprising findings about tuna diets, describe promising initiatives in the aquaculture sector, and summarise lessons learned during 40 years of small-scale tuna fishery development .

This is a large issue, but then there is so much to say.

Aymeric Desurmont
Fisheries Information Specialist




Fijian fisherman proudly displaying his white teatfish sea cucumber catch. (image: Kalo Pakoa, @SPC)

In this issue


  • A la carte menu for tuna: Kids’ dishes, regional and seasonal specialities, or how tuna diets vary in the Pacific (pdf: )

  • 20,000th Tails logsheet uploaded (pdf: )

  • PNG farmers improve their fingerling production skills (pdf: )

  • Improving giant clam farming in the Marshall Islands (pdf: )

  • The Pacific Community and the Asian Institute of Technology work together towards sustainable aquaculture development in the Pacific (pdf: )

  • The Pacific-European Union Marine Partnership Programme now in the implementation phase (pdf: )

  • Pacific-European Union Marine Partnership Programme (pdf: )

  • PEUMP Programme Inception Meeting for Key Result Area 3 on Coastal Fisheries (pdf: )

  • Outcomes of the second SPC Regional Technical Meeting on Coastal Fisheries (pdf: )

  • New course on Coastal Fisheries and Aquaculture Compliance takes off! (pdf: )

  • My experience as a Pacific Islander Junior Professional with SPC (pdf: )


  • Fiji’s groupers – valuable but vulnerable (pdf: )

  • Tablet-based data collection – a new vision for Vanuatu’s aquaculture sector (pdf: )


  • Temporal variation in catch composition, fishing gear and time spent fishing in an artisanal coral reef fishery (pdf: )

  • Development and application of sea cucumber fishery regulations in French Polynesia (pdf: )

  • Forty years of small-scale tuna fishery development in the Pacific Islands: Lessons learned (pdf: )

pdfDownload the complete publication:

Fisheries Newsletter #157 (pdf: )



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