A new study from nonprofit research group WorldFish shows that shark fin trading is in decline, but now the sea cucumber is in danger due to overfishing and a persistent high demand.
The study, produced by WorldFish scientist Hampus Eriksson and Shelley Clarke, an expert on shark fin trade from the Australian National Center for Ocean Resources and Security, shows shark fin trade is in decline. Environmental activist NGOs have lobbied for a boycott of shark fin soup, an Asian delicacy, because its production encourages some fishermen to use unethical shark fishing practices that endangered several shark species. According to the study, global campaigning against shark fin trade and a campaign by the Chinese government to discourage consumption of shark fin soup has led to a decline in the trade.
Now, the focus is shifting to sea cucumber. The group’s study showed sea cucumber, also a popular and high-value delicacy in China and other Asian nations, remains popular. As a result, seven species of the sea creature are now considered endangered due to overfishing.
“We must achieve a balance between conservation and the livelihoods of those that depend on this valuable resource,” said Stephen Hall, director general of WorldFish. “Improved trade monitoring systems will greatly assist in guiding appropriate management responses. In parallel we should also put greater effort into understanding the potential of aquaculture to reduce the pressure on wild caught sea cucumber.”