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Catastrophic depletion of reef-associated sea cucumbers: resource management/reef resilience issues for an Indonesian marine park and the wider Indo-Pacific

Authors

  • David J. W. Lane,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biology, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Brunei Darussalam
    2. Honorary Research Fellow, Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, National University of Singapore, Singapore
    • Correspondence to: D.J.W. Lane, Department of Biology, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Jalan Tungku Link, BE1410, Brunei Darussalam. E-mail: david.lane@ubd.edu.bn

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  • Daniel Limbong

    1. Faculty of Fisheries and Marine Science, Sam Ratulangi University, Manado, Sulawesi Utara, Indonesia
    Current affiliation:
    1. Lembaga Penelitian dan Pengabdian Kepada Masyarakat Universitas Kristen Tentena, Poso, Sulawesi, Indonesia
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  • Present address: Lembaga Penelitian dan Pengabdian Kepada Masyarakat Universitas Kristen Tentena, Jl. Torulemba No. 21, Tentena, Poso 94663, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Abstract

  1. Commercial species of shallow-water, tropical, aspidochirotid sea cucumbers (bêche-de-mer) in the Indo-West Pacific, many of them, at maturity, large and conspicuous benthic members of coral reef or seagrass/sediment environments, represent a high-value marine resource, traditionally fished for centuries, but which currently are being heavily overfished, largely through a growing demand from mainland China and regional markets in the supply chain.
  2. Population losses are exemplified by a study at Bunaken National Marine Park, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, where densities of commercial sea cucumber species are very low following earlier harvesting and where drop-out of species records has occurred over a 17-year study period.
  3. Sea cucumber populations have not recovered from overexploitative depredations despite the designation of this area as a National Marine Park in 1991 and the commencement of protection measures.
  4. This pattern of overexploitation, replicated across the tropical Indo-Pacific, has detrimental implications for many coastal communities traditionally or currently dependent on this high-value resource.
  5. In addition there are potentially serious implications of overharvesting – reviewed here – for reef ecosystem resilience.

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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