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Stichopus chloronotus

Brandt, 1835


Rachel Hengst (2011)



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Threats and Conservation


The major threat to sea cucumbers at the present is beche-de-mer fisheries (Friedman et al. 2011). Sea cucumbers, whether for medicinal or food purposes, have long been sought after in Asia (Toral-Granda et al. 2008). These animals are extremely easy to catch as they are found on shallow reefs in clear waters, and they are often overfished (Toral-Granda et al. 2008; Friedman et al. 2011). Some fisheries generally only target specific species, but other fisheries may harvest as many as 26 species at once (Kinch et al. 2008). Historically fisheries have started with only the most valuable species, but as these are depleted, other species are targeted too (Lokani 1990; Lokani et al. 1996).  Huge numbers of sea cucumbers can be exported when a fishery first opens, but this generally falls as was seen on the Carteret Islands. In 1982 this fishery exported 10 tons of sea cucumber, but only the next year that number had fallen to around 2000 kilograms (Dalzell 1990).  The evidence of overexploitation in multiple locations is growing, but it is often difficult to manage these fisheries. Scientific data is often hard to come by, and many of the countries involved in this fishing are quite poor (Hamilton and Lokani 2011).

There is little evidence that fisheries are a threat to Stichopus chloronotus specifically. The best plan for management of this species is probably the same as for those species that are targeted by fisheries – close monitoring of the fisheries. Although moratoriums have been placed on sea cucumber fisheries in several locations in the Pacific, there is some evidence that the populations do not recover significantly (Friedman et al. 2011). This is a great concern, and management strategies probably need to be re-evaluated (Friedman et al. 2011). One of the most important factors in the success of management plans is enforcement by governments and adherence by fisherman (Friedman et al. 2011).  Overall it seems that Stichopus chloronotus is not under immediate threat, but given the trend that fisheries have followed in the past, S. chloronotus should still be monitored.