Zanzibar sea cucumber training 2019 (BV aquaculture programme)
A pioneering learning exchange for sea cucumber aquaculture
Thursday, April 18, 2019, 11:50 (GMT + 9)
After ten years of developing a model for community-based sea cucumber aquaculture with coastal fishing communities, Blue Ventures shared its knowledge outside of Madagascar for the first time at a learning exchange in Unguja, Zanzibar.
At the request of FAO Tanzania, four members of Blue Ventures’ aquaculture team travelled to Unguja in early February to lead training workshops at this gathering of government officials, hatchery technicians, researchers, entrepreneurs, NGOs, and sea cucumber farmers. Our team led sessions designed to provide the necessary skills and technical knowledge to build a viable sea cucumber farming industry in Tanzania.
Sea cucumbers are in high demand in Asian markets where they are considered a delicacy, health food and aphrodisiac, and this has led to wild sea cucumber stocks being overexploited. However, it is possible for coastal communities to farm sea cucumbers using simple tools and techniques.
Blue Ventures supports coastal communities to build these skills, and to develop commercial relationships with private sector aquaculture businesses to create ecologically sustainable and socially viable aquaculture businesses that are locally owned and managed.
YouTube video: Madagascar: Saving the economy with aquaculture | DW English
Sea cucumber farmers from the coastal village of Tampolove in southwest Madagascar recently experienced their largest ever monthly harvest of over 5,500 sea cucumbers. Together, 78 farmers earned a net profit of $4,800 – an average of over $60 per farmer – after paying all operational costs themselves. In a region where the average income is less than $2 per day, this is a potentially transformative sustainable income.
The learning exchange in Unguja was a watershed moment for the growth of community-based sea cucumber aquaculture in the western Indian Ocean. By forging and reinforcing relationships with partner organisations in new locations who already have their roots in coastal communities, Blue Ventures will be able scale up and refine this model more quickly, effectively and equitably than we could alone.