Coastal Fisheries Programme

Number 24 - July 2006


Group Coordinator and Bulletin Editor:
Chantal Conand, Université de La Réunion, Laboratoire de biologie marine, 97715 Saint-Denis Cedex, La Réunion, France. Fax: +262 938166

Information Section, Marine Resources Division, SPC, B.P. D5, 98848 Noumea Cedex, New Caledonia. Fax: (687) 263818;

Produced with financial assistance from the European Union through the EU/SPC PROCFish project


It has been less than six months since the last issue of this bulletin was published, and, as you will discover in these pages, we have nevertheless received enough new information to publish a very rich issue.

We begin with an article by Hearn who presents some baseline information on the warty sea cucumber Stichopus horrens from the Galápagos. Following the collapse of the Isostichopus fuscus
fishery in the Galápagos Marine Reserve, fishers are now focusing on Stichopus horrens, which has been illegally fished since 2004. It is hoped that if a legal fishery for this species is opened, the baseline information collected will be used to manage it sustainably.

We continue with two articles from the Middle East. Dar and Ahmad write about the feeding selectivity and ecological role, as sediment “reworkers”, of three shallow water holothurians, Holothuria atra, H. hawaiiensis and Bohadschia vitiensis, in the Red Sea. Tehranifard et al. examine the reproductive cycle of Stichopus herrmanni from Kish Island, Iran, and share their results with us.

As demonstrated in several past issues of this bulletin, sea cucumber aquaculture is well developed in some parts of the world such as China, but is still in its infancy in the Pacific Islands region. Ivy and
Giraspy work in eastern Australia at the only commercial sea cucumber farm operating in the tropical Pacific region. They evaluate the potential of Holothuria scabra versicolor (golden sandfish) for mass
culture in a hatchery. Conscious that the development of sea cucumber farming will likely lead to the introduction of new diseases, Yasoda et al. discuss the possibility of using probiotics as an “eco-friendly” biological method against pathogens. 

Lavitra et al. assess the abundance of echinoderm larvae, including sea cucumber larvae, in the lagoon of Toliara Great Reef in southwest Madagascar. The authors collected more than 9000 echinoderm larvae, and their sampling clearly shows seasonal variability among the different larval forms. Sea cucumber larvae are poorly studied, and this article comes as a useful addition to the scientific literature. 

Minimum size for live sea cucumbers is often used as a management tool, but measuring live sea cucumbers can be a real challenge. Laboy-Nieves and Conde devised a new approach: submerging specimens in cold (~ 8° C) seawater to obtain maximum contraction in less than 10 seconds. 

Following the publication of the SPC Pacific Island sea cucumber and beche-de-mer identification cards — which focused on 22 commercially important species in the Western Pacific — a need was identified for a guide that would include major commercially valuable species from other parts of the world. Toral, from the Charles Darwin Foundation (Galápagos), has initiated a project to develop such a guide with the collaboration and support of FAO, which will publish it. The project presents the perfect venue for gathering available information on sea cucumber biology, ecology, processing and markets, including photos and description of commercial species at different levels of processing.

We continue to publish observations about natural sea cucumber spawnings with descriptions in this issue from the Mediterranean Sea and from La Reunion in the Indian Ocean. And as usual, we also include a section on Abstracts and Publications.

I remind you that this and all previous issues of the bulletin are available in pdf format on SPC’s website at: The 600+ article and abstract titles that have been published so far in the Bulletin can also be searched by title, author name(s), scientific name, region or country in the database put together by SPC’s Fisheries Information Section, and available on SPC’s website at:

Finally, I draw contributors’ attention to the new “Instructions to Authors” that have been issued by SPC’s Fisheries Information Section ( This bulletin now receives many more submissions than can be fitted in a 50–60 page issue. This “success” may be partly attributed to two factors: 1) sea cucumber fisheries have recently expanded (and often collapsed) in many parts of the world, making them a hot topic of fisheries management, and to our knowledge, the BDM bulletin is the sole existing publication fully dedicated to the subject; and 2) the bulletin’s longevity and high quality attracts spontaneous submissions from authors.

But, this relative success has a downside. The human and financial resources required to produce two lengthy issues each year (and BDM is only one of seven information bulletins published by SPC’s Information Section) are significant. Consequently, we must look for ways to reduce the associated workload. Therefore, we will now only be accepting articles that require minimal English language revision and editing, and which adhere to SPC’s Instructions to Authors. If you plan to submit an article to this Bulletin, and your native language is not English, we strongly recommend that you hire an English language editor to review your work before submitting it. If this is not possible or practical, then we suggest you ask an English-speaking colleague to check your manuscript prior to submission. This will help to ensure that your paper is not rejected for publication.

The Beche-de-Mer Information Bulletin has now reached its 16th year of existence and we must make sure it safely rides towards and beyond its 20th anniversary. I trust that you will help us achieve this goal.

 Chantal Conand

PS: Please note that, following its usual three-year rhythm, the next Echinoderm Conference will be held in August 2006 on the campus of the University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH (USA) (more information at:


Baseline information on the warty sea cucumber Stichopus horrens in Santa Cruz, Galápagos, prior to the commencement of an illegal fishery
Hearn A., Pillinos F. (pdf: 247 KB)
The feeding selectivity and ecological role of shallow water holothurians in the Red Sea
Dar M.A., Ahmad H.O. (pdf: 342 KB)
Reproductive cycle of Stichopus herrmanni from Kish Island, Iran
Tehranifard A., Uryan S., Vosoghi G., Fatemy S.M., Nikoya A. (pdf: 312 KB)
Development of large-scale hatchery production techniques for the commercially important sea cucumber Holothuria scabra var. versicolor (Conand, 1986) in Queensland, Australia
Ivy G., Giraspy D.A.B. (pdf: 193 KB)
Seasonal abundance of sea cucumber larvae at Toliara Great Reef, Madagascar
Lavitra T., Vaïtilingon D., Rasolofonirina R., Eeckhaut I. (pdf: 97 KB)
A new approach for measuring Holothuria mexicana and Isostichopus badionotus for stock assessments
Laboy-Nieves E.N., Conde J.E. (pdf: 107 KB)
Probiotics and sea cucumber farming
Yasoda H.N., Chi Z., Ling Z.K. (pdf: 73 KB)
Fact sheets and identification guide for commercial sea cucumber species
Toral-Granda M.V. (pdf: 74 KB)
Observation of natural spawning of Holothuria tubulosa
Moosleitner H. (pdf: 120 KB)
Observation of natural spawning of Bohadschia vitiensis
Gaudron S. (pdf: 94 KB)

Download the complete publication:

Beche de Mer #24 (pdf: )

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