Is sea cucumber sustainable?

Sustainable sea cucumber is not yet available in Australia and New Zealand with the blue fish tick label.

What is a sea cucumber?

There are over 1,400 species of sea cucumber inhabiting all corners of the marine world, from the ocean floor of Antarctica to the pristine reefs of the tropics. 

The majority of sea cucumber is harvested for human consumption. Like abalone, shark fin, fish maw and bird’s nest soup, sea cucumber is a delicacy that has been a symbol of affluence and luxury, typically reserved for special occasions like weddings, banquets, and Chinese New Year celebrations.

How do I know if sea cucumber is sustainable?

There is no such thing as a sustainable species of fish. Only sustainable populations of fish. The Western Australia Sea Cucumber fishery is the world’s first to be certified to the Marine Stewardship Council’s global standard for a well-managed and sustainable fishery. However, there are currently no sea cucumber products available with the blue fish tick label, meaning you cannot be sure if the sea cucumber you're buying is from a sustainable source.

Sea cucumber facts

Sea cucumbers predominantly feed on detritus and other organic matter and excrete inorganic nitrogen and phosphorous. This nutrient recycling and sediment redistribution are critical to maintaining productive and biodiverse ecosystems, like coral reefs, and can affect alkalinity levels of seawater, serving as an important buffer against ocean acidification.

 

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Would you eat a sea cucumber?

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