Ecuador opens controlled fishing for sea cucumbers in a Galapagos reserve

EFE Quito
Jun 10 2021

Editorial Note: The scientific support for the opening of the sea cucumber fishing season has not been shared with transparency and scientific researchers cast doubt on the validity of some of the assertions made in this release. There are minimum thresholds previously set for the baseline required sea cucumber in a given survey area, but these thresholds are absolute minimum guidelines and studies conducted in the marine reserve have shown that even these minimum thresholds have not been met in recent years.

This Wednesday, the Government of Ecuador announced the opening of a season for the controlled fishing of sea cucumber in the Marine Reserve of the Galapagos Islands, after studies that warn of a surplus in the echinoderm population.*

After six years, the sea cucumber (Isostichopus fuscus) fishery is resumed in the Galapagos Marine Reserve, which will begin on July 12 for a period of 60 days, reported the Ministry of the Environment.

Technicians from the Directorate of the Galapagos National Park (PNG), an entity attached to the Ministry of the Environment, together with representatives of the four artisanal fishing cooperatives of the archipelago, agreed to start the sea cucumber fishing season under strict “management measures” for sustainable use of the resource.

Sea cucumber fishing, which in the past endangered the species, is now regulated through technical and scientific studies that seek to preserve it and adapt its capture in sustainable terms in this archipelago, subject to special conservation regulations.

When population studies give a result equal to or greater than eleven sea cucumbers per hundred square meters, the Galapagos National Park can open the capture of echinoderm, under special regulations, explained its director, Danny Rueda.

Monitoring carried out by specialists and fishermen from Galapagos has confirmed a recovery in population density of up to twelve cucumbers per 100 square meters, the Ministry added in a statement.

Due to these conditions, authorities in the area met today on Santa Cruz Island, in the heart of the Galapagos, to establish the start of the fishing season, within the framework of a “Five-Year Fishing Calendar” established in 2016.

Authorized artisanal fishermen in the Galápagos will have sixty days to catch sea cucumbers at certain sites on the islands of Española, Fernandina, Floreana, Isabela, San Cristóbal and Santa Cruz, confirmed the Ministry.

A catch quota of 600,000 cucumbers has also been established in a “fresh” or “wet state” and with a minimum size of 20 centimeters long, specifications that will be verified by the corresponding authorities.

The Ministry of the Environment specified that the captured specimens will be sold through authorized traders and that “management indicators” for a new fishing calendar arising from the annual studies on the situation of sea cucumber populations in the region will be defined shortly. region.

The studies must confirm that these populations maintain specimens for at least five years, so that “necessary conditions exist and open the fishery in a sustainable way,” said Gustavo Manrique, Minister of the Environment.

The Galapagos Islands, which were declared in 1978 as a Natural Heritage of Humanity, are located about a thousand kilometers west of the continental coasts of Ecuador and owe their name to the huge tortoises that inhabit them.

Its land and marine reserve, which covers an area of ​​138,000 square kilometers, contains a rich biodiversity, considered a natural laboratory that allowed the British scientist Charles Darwin to develop his theory on the evolution and natural selection of species.

Read the original coverage from Agencia EFE here https://www.efe.com/efe/america/economia/ecuador-abre-la-pesca-controlada-de-pepinos-mar-en-una-reserva-galapagos/20000011-4558492

*Editorial Note: The scientific support for the opening of the sea cucumber fishing season has not been shared with transparency and scientific researchers cast doubt on the validity of some of the assertions made in this release. There are minimum thresholds previously set for the baseline required sea cucumber in a given survey area, but these thresholds are absolute minimum guidelines and studies conducted in the marine reserve have shown that even these minimum thresholds have not been met in recent years.


Informing and sharing news on marine life, flora, fauna and conservation in the Galápagos Islands since 2017
© SOS Galápagos, 2021

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