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Beche-de-mer Information Bulletin #41


Number 41 - March 2021


Group Coordinator and Bulletin Editor:
Igor Eeckhaut, Biology of Marine Organisms and Biomimetics, 6 Av. Champ de Mars, University of Mons, 7000 Mons Belgium.

Pacific Community, Fisheries Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems Division, Information Section, SPC, 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.



This 41th issue of the SPC Beche-de-Mer Information Bulletin includes 16 original articles and scientific observations from a wide variety of regions around the world. We first want to express our congratulations to Dr Marie Bonneel, Dr Cathy Hair and Dr Hocine Benzait who recently received their PhDs. Dr Bonneel received her PhD from the University of Mons in Belgium, and her dissertation is titled “Sea cucumbers as a source of proteins with biomimetic interest: Adhesive and connective tissue – stiffening proteins from Holothuria forskali”. Dr Hair received her PhD from James Cook University in Australia, and the title of her dissertation is “Development of community-based mariculture of sandfish, Holothuria scabra, in New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea”. Dr Benzait received his PhD from the Université de Mostaganem in Algeria, and his dissertation is titled “Ecologie, dynamique de la population et reproduction d’Echinaster sepositus, Ophioderma longicauda et de Parastichopus regalis au niveau de la côte de Mostaganem”.

The first article by Simone et al. (p. 3) recalls that at the last meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES in August 2019, three species of teatfish were included in CITES Appendix II. This inclusion has opened the door for potential new species listings.

The next four articles are original research contributions. Two articles are from Murphy et al. One (p. 5) provides updated conversion ratios for beche-de-mer species in Torres Strait, Australia. These values are useful for stock assessments, management and monitoring of the beche-de-mer fishery in Australia. In their second article (p. 8), the authors show the results of a field survey of eastern Torres Strait where they used a remotely operated vehicle to survey sea cucumbers. Ram et al. (p. 12) investigates the effect of salting time on the collagen content of the body wall of Holothuria scabra. They observed that after 72 hours of salting, collagen fibers are almost totally destroyed and disappear from the body wall of sandfish. The analysis of Parastichopus regalis’s digestive content, by Elakkermi et al. (p. 15), reveals that it includes mostly fine sedimentary particles and that a very small part is composed of foraminiferans, annelids, fragments of mollusc shells, sponge spicules, echinoderm ossicles, diatoms and cyanobacteria.

The next three articles concern field observations. Tanita et al. (p. 19) observed several juvenile teatfish showing intermediate ventral colour morphs and provide illustrations of these variations. Schagerström and Sundell (p. 22) and Christophersen (p. 25) describe the biology of Parastichopus tremulus whose distribution is in the northeast Atlantic Ocean, mainly along the Norwegian and Swedish coasts. This species shows significant potential as a commercial product for the Chinese market. Mulochau et al. (p. 37) provide us with some extraordinary photos of a green turtle looking for and eating Synapta maculata in seagrass and coral blocks at Reunion Island.

Two articles follow, and relate past stories about sea cucumbers. I first describe the history of Holothuria scabra aquaculture in Madagascar and talk about the history behind the creation of Indian Ocean Trepang, which is becoming one of the largest sandfish aquaculture companies in the world (p. 40). Solís-Marín et al. (p. 46) then tells us an extraordinary story where sea cucumber ossicles were found in a ritual deposit of consecration, found 2 m below the monolith of the Earth goddess Tlaltecuhtli (Mexico). They have identified vestiges of 20 species of echinoderms, including five species of sea cucumbers.

Sea cucumber crimes in India and Sri Lanka are analysed by Phelps Bondaroff (p. 55). Similarly, Rodriguez-Forero (p. 66) explains the situation in Colombia, and the interest in developing a blue economy programme in that country. Mezali et al. (p. 69) show us the results of a survey in Algeria for analysing consumer behaviour to introduce sea cucumbers on the local Algerian market.

González-Wangüemert (p. 79) describes WANGUMAR, a new consultancy company linked to sea cucumber fisheries and aquaculture in the Mediterranean and northeast Atlantic regions. Lovatelli (p. 81) announces the second edition of the global guidebook for identifying commercially exploited sea cucumbers, and kindly invites people to contribute to it.

Also included in this issue are various communications (p. 79) about publications and PhD dissertations. This issue is the first where we present English and French sections. The article by Simone et al. in English, also appears in French (p. 73). Finally, Sohou et al. (p. 75) give us, for the first time, information on sea cucumber fishing in Benin (West Africa).

I deeply thank Kim Des Rochers for her editing and proofreading work on the articles in English.




The listing of three sea cucumber species in CITES Appendix II enters into force
Di Simone M., Horellou A., Conand C. (pdf: 73 KB)
Updated conversion ratios for beche-de-mer species in Torres Strait, Australia
Murphy N. E., Skewes T. D. and Plagányi É. E. (pdf: 111 KB)
Successful use of a remotely operated vehicle to survey deep-reef habitats for white teatfish (Holothuria fuscogilva) in Torres Strait, Australia
Murphy N. E., Skewes T. D., EdgarS., Salee K. and Plagányi É. E. (pdf: 289 KB)
Salting affects the collagen composition of the tropical sea cucumber Holothuria scabra
Ram R., Chand R. V., Reilly S. and Southgate P. (pdf: 133 KB)
Gut content analysis of Parastichopus regalis (Cuvier, 1817) from the west Algerian coast
Elakkermi M., Mezali K., Khodja I., Belbachir N. E., Benzait H. and Lila Soualili D. (pdf: 160 KB)
Observation of confusing ventral colour patterns of juvenile teatfish (Holothuroidea) for species identification in Solomon Islands
Tanita I., Masaki K., Diau B. A., Hirohavi E. B., Komatsu T. and Ramofafia C. (pdf: 135 KB)
Parastichopus tremulus (Gunnerus, 1767) red sea cucumber, red signal sea cucumber (Sweden), rødpølse (Norway and Denmark), Aspidochirotida, Stichopodidae
Schagerström E. and Sundell K. S. (pdf: 153 KB)
Norwegian red sea cucumber (Parastichopus tremulus) fishery and aquaculture north of 60°N latitude: Feasible or fictional?
Christophersen G., Bakke S. and Sunde J. (pdf: 582 KB)
Green sea turtle, Chelonia mydas, feeding on Synapta maculata (Holothuroidea: Synaptidae) on a seagrass bed (Syringodium isoetifolium) at Reunion Island, western Indian Ocean
Mulochau T., Jean C. , Gogendeau P. and Ciccione S. (pdf: 144 KB)
From fundamental to applied research: The history of the Indian Ocean Trepang company
Eeckhaut I. (pdf: 287 KB)
Sea cucumbers – mysterious offerings to Mexica gods
Solís-Marín F. A., Luján L. L., Caballero-Ochoa A. A., Conejeros-Vargas C. A., Zárate T. P. and Zúñiga-Arellano B. (pdf: 298 KB)
Sea cucumber crime in India and Sri Lanka
Phelps Bondaroff T. (pdf: 343 KB)
The sea cucumber and its role in the blue economy in Colombia
Rodríguez-Forero A. (pdf: 80 KB)
Knowledge of sea cucumbers by the Algerian community and an attempt to introduce them into the national gastronomy
Mezali K., Khodja I., Lebouazda Z. and Belkacem N. (pdf: 169 KB)
L’inscription de trois espèces d’Holothuries à l’Annexe II de la CITES entre en vigueur
Di Simone M., Horellou A. et Conand C. (pdf: 80 KB)
Présentation de la pêche aux holothuries au Bénin
Sohou Z., Conand C., Djéblé O. and Kinkpé R. (pdf: 257 KB)
Anon. (pdf: 300 KB)


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