Sea Cucumber Surveys Conducted by tzi21247

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									FISHERIES DIVERSIFICATION PROGRAM

                                                    Emerging Fisheries Development

  Project Report FDP 358 - 4                                                               2002


            Sea Cucumber Surveys Conducted
            Cucumaria frondosa




         Sea cucumbers landed on St. Pierre Bank.


Sea cucumber surveys, supported by the                On St. Pierre Bank, where Labrador scallop
Fisheries Diversification Program (FDP), were         buckets were used, a harvest rate of 20,000
conducted in Notre Dame Bay, Placentia Bay            lbs per day seems possible, but overall
and on St. Pierre Bank in 2001.                       catches in Placentia Bay totalled only 345
                                                      lbs. daily during the survey.
Two of the three areas surveyed - Notre
Dame Bay and St. Pierre Bank - showed                 Detailed result data is illustrated inside this
positive results, but the catch in Placentia Bay      publication. Further survey and development
was less than expected. A dive harvest of             activities are planned to expand on our
cucumbers was conducted near Dildo Run                knowledge of the extent of the resource and
and Indian Island in Notre Dame Bay which             to test other harvesting methods for this
showed a potential of up to 6,000 lbs. per day.       emerging fishery.
       Species Description                            area (Perch Rock and The Cays) in Placentia
                                                      Bay; and selected sites in Notre Dame Bay
Sea cucumbers (Cucumaria frondosa) are a
                                                      near Dildo Run and Indian Island using a dive
bottom-dwelling organism related to sea
                                                      harvest. Each project vessel completed 10
urchins, although quite different in
                                                      survey days under an approved DFA fishing
appearance and habit. They belong to a
                                                      plan. A fishing day was defined as a day
group of sea animals called Holothurians. The
                                                      during which 20 tows, 10 to 20 minutes in
sea cucumber found in our waters is a barrel-
                                                      duration, were made. A total of 400 tows,
shaped animal, dark brown/blue in colour, and
                                                      using scallop buckets, for the two project
measures up to 50 cm in length. Their
                                                      vessels, were completed.
cylindrical cucumber-shaped body bears 5
distinctive bands of tubed feet and 10
                                                      For dive harvesting, a fishing day was defined
tentacles that are used for gathering up
                                                      as a day during which a dive crew worked an
bottom sediments upon which it feeds. The
                                                      area for eight to ten hours, of which a
animal attaches itself to stony sea bottoms or
                                                      minimum of four to five hours (depending on
burrows into sediments. The species is found
                                                      depth) was bottom time, split evenly between
throughout Newfoundland and Labrador in
                                                      two divers.
water depths from a few fathoms to more than
200.
                                                      A standard Labrador scallop bucket was used
                                                      to complete the survey around St. Pierre Bank
              Background                              and Placentia Bay in 3Ps. Appropriate mesh
Local companies have completed some work              size twine was used to harvest the sea
with this bottom-dwelling species, and others         cucumber instead of standard chain link rings
appear intent on doing further processing with        used when towing for scallop. After each tow,
marketing development, the greatest                   the catch of sea cucumber was weighed and
challenge for this fishery. Scallop fishers on        returned to the ocean. Data sheet entries
the south coast reported finding sea                  were made by an observer assigned to each
cucumber so abundant at times, they had to            project vessel. There were already licenced
discontinue harvesting in certain areas and           scallop and sea urchin fishers operating in the
move to pursue the targeted species - scallop.        subject areas. The project vessels came from
In Notre Dame Bay, sea urchin divers also             this fleet sector. Selection was made through
reported significant abundance of sea                 a public tender process requiring the vessel to
cucumbers and have already harvested small            be fully rigged and licenced to fish scallop,
v o l u me s f o r s p e ci a l iz e d ma r k e ts.   and/or sea urchins. In addition, the vessels
Diversification into a sea cucumber fishery           had to have all the necessary navigational
would create opportunities for the present            and mechanical equipment required on a
scallop licence holders and sea urchin                commercial fishing vessel. They were also in
harvesters, many of whom operate small                compliance with CSI (Canadian Steamships
vessels up to 35'. The preferred method of            Inspection) and dive harvest regulations.
harvest is likely to be a modified scallop
bucket. "Box trawls" or flat, low-rise shrimp
beam trawls also have potential as an
alternate method of harvest, but need to be
evaluated. One major challenge remaining is
a price structure to ensure a fair and profitable
return to both harvester and processor.

             Methodology
The three areas identified to survey for sea
cucumber were: St. Pierre Bank; St. Bride’s
                                                        Sea cucumbers from the dive survey.
                                      Notre Dame Bay Survey Results

Dive Areas: Notre Dame Bay, near Dildo Run and Indian Island, Bert Lambert , Vessel: “No Name” Leng th: 34'
              Dive Date/Positions        Dive Time (hrs)    Average Depth    Total Catch (lbs)                         Comments
                                                                 (fm)

 08 24      49 32 N 54 38 W                    4                  5                695           Strong tidal area

 08 26      49 32 N 54 37 W                    3                  5                1700          Less tide

 08 27      49 32 N 54 39 W                    1.5                5                1250          Murky water

 08 28      49 32 N 54 40 W                    1.5                5                2000          Coral sandy bottom

 08 29      49 32 N 54 20 W                    1.5               3.5                0            Sandy bottom

 08 30      49 31 N   54 28 W                  1.5                5                 0            Grassy bottom

 08 31      49 31 N   54 43 W                  1.5                5                350           Heavy tide

 09 01      49 32 N   54 38 W                  1.5                5                1550          Coral/sandy bottom

 09 02      49 32 N   54 36 W                  2                  5                501

 09 03      49 33 N   54 35 W                  1.5                4                340

 Totals                                       20.5                                 8386



There is potential for the development of a sea cucumber dive harvest fishery in the Notre Dame
Bay area. This was clearly demonstrated by two divers who harvested up to 2,000 lbs. from 1.5
hours of dive time during this survey (see chart above). This type of harvesting method is very
effective in shallow water as it is easily accessible by divers. It is very selective resulting in
absolutely no by-catch. Further exploratory work is required to evaluate this method of harvest
and to establish the extent of the cucumber biomass. This is necessary to project levels of
participation required to determine the full potential for this fishery.

                                       St. Pierre Bank Survey Results
Fishing Areas : St Pierre Bank, Paul Harris, Vessel: “ Stephanie and Justin”, Length: 34' 11"'
              Set Dates/Positions       Total Tow Time in   Depth fm (Av.)   Tow     speed         Total             Catch        By- Catch (lbs)
                                               Min                              (knts)                       (lbs)

 08 26    45 50 N   55 59 W                   295              28 - 30           2.2 - 2.4                   14                        120

 08 27    45 45 N   55 56 W                   317              28 - 30           2.2 - 2.4                   56                        183

 08 28    46 15 N   56 56 W                   280              21 - 32           2.2 - 2.4                 7491                        131

 08 29    46 20 N   56 56 W                   259              21 - 25           2.2 - 2.4                   854                       266

 08 30    46 23 N   57 02 W                   263              21 - 25           2.2 - 2.4                 2115                         79

 08 31    46 24 N   57 00 W                   254              22 - 28           2.2 - 2.4                 4786                        195

 09 08    46 30 N   56 52 W                   255              21 - 28           2.2 - 2.4                   628                       341

 09 09    45 44 N   56 04 W                   278              26 - 28           2.2 - 2.4                 6274                        316

 09 10    45 38 N   55 59 W                   271              26 - 27           2.2 - 2.4                 8266                        283

 09 11    45 44 N   55 50 W                   247              25 - 30           2.2 - 2.4                 4084                        328

 Totals                                       2719                                                         34568                       2242



It appears that a significant biomass of sea cucumber exists on the St. Pierre Bank and represents
a new development opportunity in the fishing industry (see chart above). Some areas produced
excellent results while in other areas the catches were less than desirable. It would appear that
sea cucumber occur in dense, localized concentrations similar to scallops. Further work is needed
on the quality aspects of handling, holding, transporting, and processing of this product using this
harvest method.
                                          Placentia Bay Survey Results

          Fishing Areas: Perch Rock and Th e Cays, Placentia Bay, Winston Pitcher, Vessel “Kearley Agnes”, Length: 42'
             Date Fished/Position            # tows       Depth fm (range)   Length tows   Tow Speed    Total   By - Catch (lbs)
                                                                                (min)        (knts)     Catch
                                                                                                        (lbs)

 09 16    46 43 N 54 24 W                      20             38 - 49          12 - 16      2.1 - 2.5      13               309

 09 17    46 38 N 54 09 W                      20             26 - 42          12 - 18      2.3 - 2.4      61               141

 09 18    46 37 N 54 09 W                      20             26 - 39          10 - 15      2.3 - 2.4      40               187

 09 20    46 42 N 54 15 W                      20             30 - 40          10 - 17      2.3 - 2.4      33               300

 09 21    46 42 N 54 17 W                      20             30 - 45          10 - 21      2.3 - 2.4      21               368

 09 22    46 48 N 54 20 W                      20             30 - 72          10 - 15      2.4 - 2.5      24               602

 09 23    46 57 N 54 19 W                      20             23 - 67          10 - 15      2.3 - 2.5     188               347

 09 24    46 55 N 54 19 W                      20             26 - 53          10 - 15      2.4 - 2.5     164               261

 09 25    46 47 N 54 15 W                      20             14 - 30          02 - 16      2.3 - 2.5     345               128


 09 26    46 46 N 54 17 W                      20             23 - 33          09 - 14      2.3 - 2.5     173                80


 Totals                                        200                                                       1062              2723



Results from the Placentia Bay area were discouraging, possibly due to the less-than-ideal seabed
conditions and water depths in excess of 30 fathoms (see chart above). Also, a lot of fixed gear
in the area caused many of the tows to be cut short. A higher-than-acceptable level of by-catch
was also encountered. The rough bottom conditions resulted in a considerable volume of rocks
taken onboard and raises a concern about using this type of gear in a sea cucumber fishery. The
FDP report ultimately recommended that alternate methods of harvest, such as a modified beam
trawl, green sea urchin drag and a modified scallop bucket should be evaluated from an
environmental impact perspective.


                                                      Additional information on this project is available from
                                                      your nearest Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
                                                      (DFA) Regional Office.




                                                             Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
                                                            Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
                                                                   P.O. Box 8700, St. John’s, NF, A1B 4J6
                                                                   Call: 709 729-3732 / Fax: 709 729-6082
                                                                    Web: http://www.gov.nf.ca/fishaq/FDP
                                                                     (Or a DFA Regional Office near you)

                                                              The $10 million Fisheries Diversification Program is
                                                           part of the $81.5 million Canada-Newfoundland
                                                           Agreement Respecting the Economic Development
                                                           Component of the Canadian Fisheries Adjustment and
                                                           Restructuring Initiative.

Winston Pitcher Jr. has a medium-size sea
cucumber.

								
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