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Open Access Conservation strategy for the sea cucumber (Isostichopus badionotus) fishery in Cuba

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The biological characteristics of the sea cucumber, Isostichopus badionotus (Selenka, 1867), which include slow movement, late sexual maturity, density-dependent reproduction, and a low recruitment rate, make it vulnerable to overexploitation. Since 1999, Cuba has been harvesting this species, and maintaining this activity at a profitable level. Of the six fishing zones in which the species is caught, the yield in the southern Camagüey zone in the southeast region produces the greatest biomass. Fisheries- dependent and -independent indices were combined to evaluate status and develop strategies for fisheries management off the southern coast of Camagüey. This entailed establishing quantitative benchmarks using catch and effort data from the Santa Cruz del Sur enterprise for the period 2003–2014. There was a reduction in sea cucumber biomass and abundance during this period, and catch rates have been above maximum sustainable yield for the last 3 yrs. We propose that the quotas based on 15%–25% of the fishing potential be reduced to 10%. We recommend applying quotas only in those places where the densities are higher than 0.45 cucumbers per 100 m2 and closing fisheries where the density is lower. The application of the dynamic surplus production model, together with independent indicators of the fishery, are useful tools for management of the species and should be applied to the sea cucumber fisheries around the island.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Center for Fisheries Research, Street 246 # 503, 5th Ave. and Mar, Barlovento, Playa, Havana, Cuba;, Email: [email protected] 2: Center for Fisheries Research, Street 246 # 503, 5th Ave. and Mar, Barlovento, Playa, Havana, Cuba

Publication date: April 1, 2018

This article was made available online on January 9, 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "Conservation strategy for the sea cucumber (Isostichopus badionotus) fishery in Cuba".

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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