Boat fuel consumption by sea cucumber fishers: new study raises concern

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Purcell, S & Lalavanua, W 2018, 'Boat fuel consumption by sea cucumber fishers: new study raises concern', SPC Fisheries Newsletter, no. 155. pp. 23-24.

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Sea cucumber fishers can earn substantial incomes from harvesting these animals, but what is the environmental cost of their fuel consumption to access fishing grounds? A new study conducted in Fiji before the sea cucumber fishery closure shows that fishers were earning, on average, about USD 4000 per year from sea cucumbers. But their annual fuel consumption averaged more than 400 litres each, equating to around 8000 tonnes of greenhouse gases for all fishers across the fishery. Longer trips to access sea cucumbers on distant reefs and the use of scuba gears worsen the ecological footprint. The study’s findings offer insights to managing sea cucumber fisheries at a critical time when Pacific Islands are campaigning for action on climate change.

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