Market price trends of Latin American and Caribbean sea cucumbers inform fisheries management
Purcell, SW, Ngaluafe, P, Lalavanua, W & Ceccarelli, DM 2018, 'Market price trends of Latin American and Caribbean sea cucumbers inform fisheries management', Regional Studies in Marine Science, vol. 17, pp. 127-132.
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Market price trends of seafood can inform fishery management measures and strengthen the bargaining power of fishers. The four-sided sea cucumber Isostichopus badionotus and donkey dung sea cucumber Holothuria mexicana are heavily exploited in small-scale fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean for export to China. We recorded prices and sizes of the dried sea cucumbers from 41 lots in 28 shops in Hong Kong and Guangzhou, China. Market value ranged 132–358 US$ kg−1 for I. badionotus, and 16–209 US$ kg−1 for H. mexicana. The relationship between product length and price per kg was weak for both species, revealing large variability in the marketplace. Price per individual increased linearly with product length for H. mexicana, and increased nonlinearly for I. badionotus indicating that large specimens were disproportionately more valuable than small ones. Thus, the economic performance of fisheries, especially those for I. badionotus, could be optimised by strictly enforcing large minimum size limits. High market value identifies I. badionotus as a species of conservation concern. A large difference between reported prices received by fishers and market retail prices suggests substantial scope for upgrading value chains of small-scale export fisheries.