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Ecological interactions between benthic-ranched and wild California sea cucumbers



In British Columbia, the California sea cucumber (Parastichopus californicus) supports a limited, but high-value fishery. Recently, increased market prices have generated a great deal of interest in farming sea cucumbers. Many of the proponents are interested in benthic ranching on the nutrient-rich seafloor beneath existing finfish and shellfish aquaculture sites. Research is required, however, to:

  1. examine growth and survivorship of sea cucumbers in this nutrient-rich zone,
  2. determine the success of maintaining cultured sea cucumbers within the boundaries of the farm site, with and without fencing, and
  3. address the management concern that wild (non-seeded) sea cucumbers will immigrate onto the culture site and be harvested as cultured product.

We are currently undertaking research to:

  1. investigate the movements of adult sea cucumbers near aquaculture sites to determine potential interactions between benthic-ranched and wild animals,
  2. examine the effects of stocking density and nutrient levels on the growth and survivorship of juvenile sea cucumbers both underneath and away from shellfish farms, and
  3. examine if there is a reduction in organic loading underneath shellfish farms when sea cucumbers are present.

Program Name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


2012 - 2014


Pacific: Vancouver Island West Coast

Principal Investigator(s)

Chris Pearce

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