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:
- examine growth and survivorship of sea cucumbers in this nutrient-rich zone,
- determine the success of maintaining cultured sea cucumbers within the boundaries of the farm site, with and without fencing, and
- 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:
- investigate the movements of adult sea cucumbers near aquaculture sites to determine potential interactions between benthic-ranched and wild animals,
- 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
- examine if there is a reduction in organic loading underneath shellfish farms when sea cucumbers are present.
Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)
2012 - 2014
Pacific: Vancouver Island West Coast
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