Tropical sea cucumber, called bêche-de-mer (BDM) in its dried form, is a luxury seafood and health food, with its main market in southern China and smaller markets in Singapore, Malaysia and other countries. Regional markets for BDM have existed for centuries, and they have expanded greatly since the 1980s with growing incomes in China. Sea cucumbers are relatively easy to harvest and process, even in remote coastal and island locations in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Once dried, BDM is shelf stable and high value relative to its size and weight, so it is an ideal cash-earning commodity for communities where cash-earning opportunities are extremely limited. Increasing prices and an influx of buyers entering the trade seeking BDM led to overfishing in PNG in the 2000s. In 2009 the government instituted a moratorium on the fishery, banning exports, and the PNG National Fisheries Authority (NFA) closed the fishery. Since then the NFA has revised the sea cucumber fishery Management Plan and conducted stock assessments in preparation for re-opening the fishery in 2017.
The objective of this study was to conduct a governance analysis that will assist the NFA and other stakeholders to grasp the factors influencing the effectiveness of the new Management Plan. We employed the ‘interactive governance’ approach, with ideas from governance studies developed for use in fisheries management. In this approach all of the factors affecting the governance of a fishery — human and non-human, government, civil society and market — are considered. Furthermore, these governance influences are considered at the various scales relevant to the fishery, from local to national and global. The research utilizes qualitative methods, with data collected from interviews with fishers and traders in PNG and China, BDM scientists and policy makers around the world, in addition to conducting an extensive literature review.
Bêche-de-Mer reproduction poster
Bêche-de-Mer value chain poster
Appendices to the Interactive Governance Analysis report
- The National Bêche-de-Mer Fishery Management Plan (PDF 243KB)
- The (pre-2009) National Bêche-de-Mer Fishery Management Plan (PDF 211KB)
- Fieldwork Report from Hong Kong SAR and Mainland China (PDF 1.2MB)
- Legal Report on the Draft Bêche-de-Mer Fishery Management Plan (PDF, 919KB)
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