FWC approves sea cucumber management changes
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Media contact: Amanda Nalley, 850-410-4943
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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) at its April meeting near Tallahassee established a commercial daily trip and vessel limit of 200 sea cucumbers in both state and federal waters.
This change will go into effect June 1. The Commission chose this limit today after considering potential management options. The change was requested by the existing commercial fishery as a proactive conservation measure.
While there is currently a small commercial fishery for sea cucumbers in Florida, primarily for the live aquarium trade, sea cucumbers have been commonly targeted elsewhere in the world as a food product due to their high value in Asian markets. The rapid, unregulated development of sea cucumber export fisheries elsewhere in the world has led to fishery collapses and sea cucumber depletions.
Sea cucumbers are vulnerable to overfishing due to their sedentary nature, which makes them easy to locate and collect, and because of their life-history characteristics such as their late reproductive age, their need for a dense population in order to successfully reproduce and their long life span. They are also ecologically important, as they help cycle nutrients in nutrient-poor tropical reefs and oxygenate sediments.
This proactive change to the commercial fishing regulations will ensure Florida’s populations of these ecologically important species and the fisheries they support remain sustainable.
More information about the issue is available in the “Sea Cucumber Presentation” link in the Commission meeting agenda. Go to MyFWC.com/Commission and click on “Commission Meetings” to pull up the agenda.