Pacific Regional Oceanscape Programme (PROP)
As part of the World Bank Pacific Regional Oceanscape Program implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community the following report has been produced as part of "Evaluating and providing management options and assistance for the bêche-de- mer (BDM) fishery in the four Melanesian countries of Papua New Guinea (PNG), Solomon Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu" which includes working closely with the Melanesian Spearhead Group Secretariat.
The following report succinctly reviews the status of sea cucumber management, provides chapters on specific areas of interests to countries including options for harmonizing data and management tools and concludes with the agreed actions and standards adopted by the 4 countries subsequent to considering the contents of this report at the 6th MSG Fisheries Technical Advisory
MSG countries have made steady progress in developing sea cucumber management systems over the last 5 years. Three of the four countries have produced new management plans that include updated minimum sizes and /or higher levies and licence fees. These plans, along with the improved capacity evident in fisheries agencies, provide the basis for improving the sustainability of the fishery and increasing revenue for fishers and national coffers.
Two major challenges are now evident: ensuring political and public support for fishery management interventions and prioritizing the implementation of the most feasible and effective management actions from the range of tools afforded by updated legislation.
This report provides briefs on the major options including for harmonization and addressing public and political support.
Status of MSG sea cucumber fisheries
The boom and bust nature of the MSG countries’ sea cucumber fisheries and the imposition of moratoria obscures the trends. Comparison of 5 year rolling averages show decreases in yearly average exports compared to 5 and 10 years previously in most countries and a major decrease in the combined MSG exports. In the last 15 years exports averaged 680 tonnes per year compared to the average of the previous 15 year period of 1,140 tonnes (i.e. a 60% decrease).