Upcoming Sustainability

There is a scientific paper, soon to be in print, that examines 140 fisheries around the world that have either collapsed in the past few years, or are on the brink of doing so. One reason why this is happening to our fisheries is because it is not humanly possible to realistically determine the natural recruitment rate of each species being fished. The ocean is too vast, complex, and dynamic to be that easily determined by mere human beings. Instead of accepting this, the biological managers of each fishery tend to create methodologies for determining natural recruitment that are nothing more than study in jumping to conclusions on insufficient evidence, and camouflage that fact with self-serving, self-deluding, esoteric mathematics.

In 1988, our company Manatee Holdings Ltd. decided to do something about this because we were concerned that the dive fisheries in B.C. harvesting geoducks, sea cucumber and urchins were actually collapsing the stocks. We focused on creating solutions that did away with the necessity to “guesstimate” natural recruitment. We also looked for ways to address natural problems causing excessive mortality.

Urchins, for example,tend to feed on the hold-fast (root) of the weed. The rest of the weed then breaks free, never to return. The reef becomes barren, and the urchin dies.

But if weplant a series of poles along the reef, string a rope along the top of the poles, plant nutritious seed of the types of sea weed the urchins love to eat, and allow it to grow down to the reef to be fed on by the urchin seed we culture in our hatchery the system becomes sustainable. We callthis a “Feed Line Urchin Ranch”.

Geoducks grow in sandy substrate areas, often foundjust below the urchin reefs. Many of these natural geoduck beds have been mined out by the wild fishery. We are replanting these natural beds back up to their natural densities with cultured geoduck seed raised from broodstock taken from the same general vicinity as the beds.

Sea cucumbers are often defined as the, “earthworms of the sea”. Like the earthworm on land, sea cucumbers feed on rotting material in the substrate and help to maintain the ecology. They like to feedon the pseudofaeces produced by both urchins and geoducks.

A healthy adult sea cucumber can move faster than it’s natural predator, the sunstar, just as a healthy caribou can out run a wolf. The problem is juvenile sea cucumbers cannot out run the star, and they get eaten by the millions. So we have creatednurseries for ourcultured sea cucumbers seedwhich are made up of recycled bags of oyster shells placed on the bottom of the ocean where the sandy substrate meets the edge of the reef. When the cucumber seed grows to a size where it has to leave the safety of our nursery refuge they hide out under the weed growing from our planting line on the reef. There they get to feed, not only on the rotting bits dropping down from their protective canopy of weed, they also get to feed on the pseudo faeces of the urchin. Once they are large enough to venture out onto the sandy substrate they also get to feed on the pseudo faeces of the geoducks.“Free ranging” sea cucumber allows them determine their own bestdensity.

This is the system we are championing into place accordingin B.C.

Aquaculture

Initial report on sea cucumber aquaculture in Dalian, China

With the new focus that I am giving in our brick and mortar business, I am starting this month with a report on sea cucumber aquaculture in Dalian, China.

Area

There are about 134 species of sea cucumber distributed in China’s seas. Among them,Apostichopus japonicus is well known as a delicacy and for its medicinal properties. It is considered to be the most valued of the edible species.

 

In China, A. japonicus is distributed along the shore of the Yellow Sea and Bohai Sea from 34° of northern latitude, including the provinces of Liaoning(where Dalian is located), Hebei, Shandong and Jiangsu. The highest biomass is found along the shores of Dalian and Jinzhou in the Liaoning Province and off Qingdao and Yantai in the Shandong Province.

Because A. japonicus is the most popular kind consumed in Dalian, the following information is mostly found based on A. japonicus.

Farming Methods

Pond culture

Farming sea cucumber in ponds is very popular in China. Furthermore, most existing shrimp ponds can be adapted to meet the ecological demands of sea cucumber. The ideal conditions for a pond culture site are: (a) to be near to the low tide mark so that seawater can be fed into the pond by gravity; (b) no pollution; (c) 28-31 salinity; (d) sandy or sandy-muddy bottom; (e) two metres depth or more; (f) 1 to 4 ha pond size; and (g) presence of shelters to protect the cultured organisms against typhoons or strong wave attack.

The sea cucumber (A. japonicus) is benthic and lives on organic debris and small benthic organisms, therefore, providing more substrate is a necessity. The reason is that the substrate can protect the sea cucumber from predators, while benthic organisms attached to the substrate can be used as a food source. Before introducing seawater into ponds, stones (weighing 20-40 kg each) or other non-toxic material like tiles and bricks can be used and are laid in rows or in a pile (Pictures shown here). These materials are used to build the “home” for the sea cucumbers.

The layout of stone substrate in sea cucumber ponds; top picture shows the substrate in row form; bottom picture shows the substrate in cone form.

If the stones (or tiles, etc.) are laid down in rows, each row is usually 3 m wide by 1.5 m high. The interval between rows is about 3-4 m. A pile of stones usually has abase of 4-5 m in diameter and 1.5 m high. The volume of stone used for these purposes is around 2 250 m3 per hectare. The figure above shows a pond ready for sea cucumber farming.

Ponds ready for farming sea cucumber; the hut in the top figure is for guarding and monitoring and a sluice gate for introducing seawater from the main supply channel; the bottom figure shows a pond ready for use.

Next issue we will talk about Pen culture/Intertidal dam pond culture.

For a complimentary strategy session with us if you want to know more about Aquaculture, contact customerservice@lourdesgant.com

 

Initial report on sea cucumber aquaculture in Dalian, China Part 2

With the new focus that I am giving in our brick and mortar business, I am starting this month with a report on sea cucumber aquaculture in Dalian, China. This is part 2. Enjoy!

Pen culture/Intertidal dam pond culture

As shown in the figure below, the ponds are located near to the seashore. At high tide, the seawater naturally flows into the pond by the means of gravity; at low tide, the water in the pond is about 80-100 cm in depth. This method saves a great deal of energy that would otherwise be used for pumping water; meanwhile, incoming seawater brings organic debris into the ponds which provide a good feedstuff for the sea cucumber. It is, therefore, a low cost method and is a highly efficient model, but it is confined to a limited area along the coast.

 

 

Pen culture model of sea cucumber in Shandong Province.

Sea ranching/bottom culture

Due to the high investment cost for the infrastructure and water management needed for the previous culture methods, sea ranching becomes a more reasonable model for farming sea cucumber as it is more akin to “animal husbandry” in the sea. Successful sea ranching of sea cucumber requires that three main criteria are considered: 1) proper site selection, which includes presence of food sources, suitable salinity and temperature ranges, flow rate, and favourable bottom conditions; 2) environmental improvement, especially the provision of shelter for the farmed sea cucumber; and 3) the release of large size seed material (>5 cm in length is desirable for a good return rate). This model is shown in the following figure.

 

Sea ranching flowchart of sea cucumber (A. japonicus).

Long line culture in open sea

In an area where is less wave action , free tidal current, the existing long line system can be used for sea cucumber farming. The mesh size of the lantern nets is around 1.0cm, open and close by zipper, so it is easy to do the routine feeding operation. Scallop net, abalone net and modified plastic bucket can all be used for sea cucumber culture, and most facilities can do the poly-culture with abalone. Seeding density is around 200~300seeds/m2 for 5 cm seed, placed 5-8m below the water surface, the distance between two down lines is around 3-4m. The density has to be reduced as the sea cucumbers grow. This type of technique can be used as poly-culture with kelp as well.

Seabed cage culture

In a bay area, round or rectangle cages (2 1.5m×1m) were built with steel bars, covered with 1.0cm polyethylene mesh netting outside the cage and hold rocks inside the cage. Rocks will occupy 1/2~2/3 of the whole cage volume. A 5cm space is needed to keep the rock from the frame of the cage to prevent netting damage due to friction. Seeding density:3~5cm seed at 200~300seeds/m2.Routine management includes monitoring for mesh damage and reducing the sea cucumber’s density through the grow-out period.

Next issue will be the pragmatic hatchery technology.

 

Initial report on sea cucumber aquaculture in Dalian, China Part 3

 

With the new focus that I am giving in our brick and mortar business, I am starting this month with a report on sea cucumber aquaculture in Dalian, China.

The pragmatic hatchery technology:

HATCHERY SITE

Suitable site selection is an important basic requirement for establishing a viable hatchery. The success of hatchery operations mainly depend on several factors concerned with the site.

 

The following are the primary requirements to be considered, while selecting a site for the hatchery.

1. The sea-cucumber hatchery must be located near to the shore with adequate supply of seawater free from pollutants, suspended particles, silt, etc. ,

2. The salinity of the seawater must be between 30 and 40 ppt throughout the year.

3. Hatchery should be away from industrial and domestic sewages and from river mouth to avoid dilution of seawater during monsoon.

4. The sea bottom must be rocky or coralline so as to get clean seawater throughout.

5. Supply of freshwater must be ensured at the hatchery site.

6. Approachable road must be available for easy transport.

7. Hatchery area should not be affected by cyclones and other natural calamities like sea or soil erosion.

8. Hatchery site must be provided with electricity.

9. The area from hatchery site to farm should be free from fishing operations.

HATCHERY FACILITIES

The basic facilities required for the production of sea-cucumber seeds are described below.

Hatchery

The hatchery is used for conditioning broodstock and rearing larvae. The inner room should be well ventilated, sunlit, but protected against direct sunlight. The illumination should be between 500-2 000 lux.

Tanks, either for rearing larvae or for spawning the broodstock, are commonly built with bricks, blocks or reinforced concrete. They are usually rectangular or elliptical in shape with a capacity of between 10 and 30 m3. Tanks of 15-25 m3 are preferred. The depth of the tanks should be about 1.2 m. The total water volume in commercial hatcheries may vary between 300 and 3 000 m3, though facilities of 500-1 000 m3 are more common.

Microalgae culture room

A microalgae culture room generally has a fibreglass or transparent plastic film roof and is oriented in an east-to-west direction. Tanks for microalgae culture are generally rectangular, 0.7-1 m in depth and with a volume of 1 to 10 m3. The bottom and inner wall of the tanks are lined with white ceramic tiles or white cement in order to reflect sunlight. An ideal microalgae culture facility is well exposed to sunlight. Commonly, the volume of water required for the culture of microalgae is in a ratio of 1:4 to 1:3 of the total hatchery.

Sea cucumber larvae / early juvenile tank(s)

The capacity of the larval culture and settlement tanks should be twice or three times that of the total hatchery water volume. A roof is also necessary to provide protection from rainwater and dust and to provide a dark environment for the sea cucumber larvae to settle on the bottom.

Seawater filter

Seawater must be filtered through a gravel bottom filter tank before being used for larval rearing and microalgae culture. A gravel bottom filter tank should be filled with cobble, gravel and sand in that order, from bottom to top. The top layer of fine sand (particle diameter: 500 mm) should be more than 60 cm thick. Recently, some newly established hatcheries obtain their water supply from sea wells rather than using sedimentation and filter tanks. To obtain water supply from sea wells, the following steps are taken: The sea water filter system consists of a draw well, sedimentation tank, filter bed, storage sump, overhead tank and PVC delivery lines to the hatchery. Sea water is drawn into the well through a 15 cm dia PVC pipe by gravitation. The water is pumped to the sedimentation tanks using 1 HP electric pump sets to allow the larger particles to settle at the bottom. The clear supernatant seawater is passed through filter bed. The filter bed consists of fine river sand at the top, charcoal, pebbles and granite stones at the bottom. The filtered sea water is pumped to the storage sea water sump (20,000 1 cap.) and the same is pumped to the overhead tank (10,000 1 cap.) using 1 and 7.5 HP electric pumpsets respecfively.

Other equipments

Different mesh size (40, 80, 200 \im) selves, a good microscope to observe the condition and to measure the larvae, a haemocytometer to count algal cell concentration, a plankton counting chamber to estimate the larval density are the other requirements for a hatchery. The pH meter, thermometer, refractometer, oxygen analysing unit, are the equipments used for monitoring the water quality. Glassware such as trays, beakers, conical flasks, embryo cups, petri-dishes, pipettes, microslides, cover slips, plastic containers such as buckets, basins, mugs and perspex tanks are the requirements.

PERSONNEL REQUIREMENT

One supervisor with thorough knowledge on hatchery management, one technical assistant with experience in larval estimation, stocking, measurement and algal cell counting and two skilled helpers to change water for the larvae/juveniles and feed them daily will be enough to produce mass production of see of sea-cucumber in the hatchery and to rear them in the open sea. Providing running sea water system both for the larvae and juveniles would minimise labour in the hatchery. Hence man power may be utilised for effective

management of juveniles in the culture area.

Next issue we will talk about Hatchery Operations.

For a complimentary strategy session with us if you want to know more about Aquaculture, contact customerservice@lourdesgant.com

 

Initial report on sea cucumber aquaculture in Dalian, China Part 4

 

HATCHERY OPERATIONS

 

Collection time

The reproductive seasons of A. japonicus in different areas may vary according to the prevailing water temperatures and abundance of natural food that influence the development of the gonads. The reproductive season of this species occurs from late June to early August in Dalian. Commonly, when the seawater temperature rises to 16-17°C the mature individuals will be collected for immediate use. In recent years, individuals farmed in deep water with sufficient water exchange can also be used for broodstock. These may be caught ahead of the season.

 

Selection

The broodstock should be over250 gin body weight and20 cmor more in body length with fully developed gonads. Gonadal index (gonad to body weight ratio) should be over 10 %.

 

Transportation

The success of the hatchery depends on the healthy condition of the brood material. There are two methods for transporting the broodstock: dry and wet. The former is used for short distances within three hours of the destination. The sea cucumbers are packed in a single layer into a foam box, with ice bags to keep the temperature low. Wet techniques are used for long distances. A canvas tank of 50x50x80 cm3 is filled to about a third to a half full with aerated seawater; it can hold 60-80 individuals. It is preferable to transport the broodstock in the morning or at night in order to avoid exposure to direct sunlight.

 

Breeding programme

Most of the broodstock will not spawn on the same day after being transported to the destination. Several days of maturation are required. The broodstock should be cultured in tanks at a density of 30-50 individuals/m3 and a water temperature of 18-20 °C.

Daily management operations – The seawater should be exchanged twice a day: a third to a half of the total volume in the morning and the total volume at night, pumping air into the water, gently but continuously, and clearing the deposits. There is no need to feed the broodstock if the breeding period is imminent, but if the sea cucumbers do not spawn after 5-6 days at 19 °C, then they must be fed with brown seaweed (Sargassum thunbergii)mixed feed or sea bottom mud. Daily feeding rate is 5 % of the body weight.

Broodstock conditioning – When the sea cucumber juveniles are needed ahead of the natural reproductive season in order to maximize their growth during the same year, the broodstock are collected earlier in the season and matured by gradually raising the water temperature. This procedure will induce the animals to spawn in advance. The method is as follows: maintain the ambient seawater temperature for 2 to 3 days after the capture, and then raise it by0.5 °C/day. When the water temperature reaches 13-15 °C, maintain it again for another 7-10 days prior to spawning and then raise it gradually to 17-18 °Cfor spawning. Feed the animals daily at a rate of 5-10 % of the body weight.

 

Spawning

 

Spawning can be achieved in four ways. They are described below briefly. The specimens are induced to spawn in the laboratory by thermal stimulation for seed production.

 

i. Natural spawning

When the gonads are fully mature, the male and female breeders release the sperms and eggs without any stimulation. At first the males release the sperms usually at noon and this is followed by females which release the eggs after an interval of one to two hours.

 

ii. Stripping

This method is used only in small scale experiements since the fertilization rate is low and also the number of deformed larvae are more. In this method ripe specimens are selected during the breeding peaks. The specimens are cut on the dorsal side from the cloaca to mouth. The fully mature ovary which is always translucent is taken out with a forceps and dried in the shade for sometime.

The ovary is then placed in clean sea water in a large petridish and lightly punctured with a scissors to release the eggs into sea water. Likewise the ripe testis is taken out and cut into pieces. When the sperms swim about, this water is poured into a ten litre beaker having the eggs with slight aeration to mix the eggs and sperms to achieve higher rate of fertilization.

 

iii. Thermal stimulation

 

This is by for the best and most reliable method available at present, to induce the holothurians to spawn. First the temperature in the brood-stock tanks is noted. If the temperature is 28° C the specimens are introduced into water having a temperature of 32° C. Sea water is heated with an immersion rod and this hot water is carefully mixed with nbrmal sea water to get the desired temperature. Usually a rise of 3-5° C is enough to induce them to spawn. This

method is widely used.

 

iv. Stimulation through drying and powerful jet of water

This method can be used after the breeder has been conditioned for more than one week in the hatchery. First all the water in the brood-stock tank is removed and the specimens are dried in the shade for about half an hour. Then the specimens are subjected to powerful jet of sea water for a few minutes. After this the specimens are put back into the tank with sea water. After 1-2 hours, the specimens begin to move up the tank wall and begin to show swaying movements. First the male releases the sperms and then after one hour the female releases the eggs.

In some cases, a combination of the last two methods is used to induce artificial spawning.

 

Fertilization

 

Artificial fertilization – As the broodstock starts to spawn, the individuals are removed from the tank as soon as possible; males and females are placed separately into fibreglass or plastic containers. While the female is spawning, a small quantity of sperm is added and the water stirred constantly to aid fertilization. Upon microscopic examination, a ratio of 3-5 spermatozoa per oocyte is considered to be suitable.

Natural fertilization in tanks – When the broodstock starts to spawn, the males are removed from the tank. When all the females have ceased spawning, they are removed and the tank is filled with fresh seawater. After about half an hour, the oocytes sink to the bottom. The uppermost half to two-thirds of the volume is gently siphoned out. After repeating this protocol two or three times, the excess spermatozoa are effectively eliminated.

Hatching

Once the oocytes are fertilized, the eggs are kept in an incubator vessel and maintained at a density of 10-20 per ml. The eggs are washed several times in order to remove the excess sperms which might pollute the water in the tank resulting in reduced fertilization and large number of deformed embryos. The eggs may also be allowed to hatch directly in the spawning tank, maintaining a density of 1-2 per ml. In both methods, the water must be gently aerated or stirred every half hour. At a temperature of about20 °C, the gastrula will begin to hatch within 24-26 hours, and the auriculariae will appear within 34 hours.

 

Larval rearing

 

Larval selection

 

Well developed auricularia are selected from the hatching tanks by siphoning them into a fine mesh screen or are hand collected using a purposely designed trawl net. If the egg concentration is less than 1 egg/ml and the hatching rate of the auricularia is high, the larvae do not have to be transferred to other tanks. In this event debris, unfertilized oocytes and malformed eggs should be removed and the tank filled with fresh seawater. A rearing density of 0.5 auricularia/ml should be maintained.

Feeding

Feeding regime – The following microalgae species are suitable for the development of the sea cucumber larvae: Dunaliella sp., Chaetoceros muelleri, Nitzschia closterrium, Phaeodactylun tricornutun, Isochrysis zhanjiangensis, and Isochrysis galbana 3011. Diatoms and Dunaliella sp. can be used as the main food, supplemented with Isochrysis sp. Other feeds such as yeast and finely grounded and filtered Sargassum thunbergii can also be used.

Daily feeding rate – Microalgae should be supplied 4-8 times a day in order to maintain a concentration of 2-5 x 104 cell/ml in the culture tank. Observation through a microscope should clearly show that about half of the larva’s stomach is filled with food.

Water management

Water exchange – The water should be changed twice a day, either by replacing a third to a half of total volume at once, or using a siphon to gradually exchange 1-1.5 times the total volume. When exchanging the water a mesh screen (NX103) should be placed on the water outlet to avoid loosing any larvae.

Cleaning – All debris should be siphoned from the bottom of the rearing tanks every 2 to 3 days; these include uneaten food particles, faeces, dead larvae and protozoa. If the water quality has deteriorated and the larvae are growing very slowly, the water must be completely replaced, even though the larvae might be injured during this operation.

Aeration

During larval rearing, the water should be aerated continuously or gently stirred every 30 minutes.

Monitoring the physico-chemical factors of the water

The optimum water temperature ranges from 18 to 22 °C, the dissolved oxygen should be maintained above 5 mg/l, the salinity between 26.2 and 36.7, the pH value between 8.1 to 8.3, the illumination between 500 and 1 500 lux, the concentration of non-ion ammonia less than 0.02 mg/l and the turbidity should not be extremely low..

 

Settlement

Settlement plates

Two different setups are used for the settlement of the larvae. The first setup is made of flexible polyethylene film sheets measuring 50×60 cm. About 10 to 15 sheets are fixed on a metal frame at a distance of5 cmfrom one another (Figure 1). Each cubic metre of water contains 30-40 sheets. The second setup uses corrugated polyethylene plates measuring 42×33 cmand1 mmthick. Each holding frame supports 10-20 plates (Figure 2). Each cubic metre of water holds 60-80 plates (Figure3).

Benthic diatoms must be inoculated on the polyethylene sheets and plates 7-10 days before larval settlement commences in order to supply the pentactulae with an adequate starter food. The settlement plates are placed into the rearing tanks when 10-20 % of the larvae have metamorphosed into doliolariae.

Figure 1. Polyethylene filmstrips.

 

Figure 2. Corrugated polyethylene plates.

 

Figure 3. Installation of settlement plates.

 

Next issue we will talk about Juvenile Rearing and more….

For a complimentary strategy session with us if you want to know more about Aquaculture, contact customerservice@lourdesgant.com

 

Initial report on sea cucumber aquaculture in Dalian, China Part 5

 

Juvenile rearing

Juveniles density

An optimum density of 1-3 individuals/cm2 should be maintained for early juvenile sea cucumbers; if the density is too high, the juveniles must be dispersed onto other plates within 10 days.

Feeding

There is no need to feed early juveniles with artificial food as they will consume the benthic diatoms present on the settlement plates. However, usually 3-5 days after settlement, it is important to supply fresh sea bottom mud and/or a mixed microalgae diet, while grounded and filtered Sargassum thunbergii becomes necessary as the juveniles develop. Based on the feeding rate and growth of the sea cucumber juveniles, yeast, fishmeal, sea kelp powder, as well as Spirulina platensis powder can be further added. Grounded and filtered Sargassum thunbergii, for example, can be used at an early stage, feeding 20-50 g/m3 of water a day, and increasing the quantity to 50-100 g when the body length is 2-5 mm, and to 100-150 g as the juveniles continue to grow.

 

Water exchange and aeration

A rearing technique using flow through water was recently adopted. If this system is not used, then the water should be completely changed 2-4 times a day. Filtered air should be injected continuously into the water throughout the juvenile rearing period in order to maintain good levels of dissolved oxygen and optimise water quality.

Physico-chemical factors

The optimum seawater temperature range for rearing the juvenile sea cucumbers is 24-27 °C. The dissolved oxygen should be above 5 mg/l and the minimum salinity adjusted according to body length as follows: 0.4 mm individuals, salinity 20-25; 5 mm individuals, salinity 10-15; larger individuals, salinity 15-20. The pH should be kept between 7.9 and 8.4, and the light intensity under 2 000 lux.

Feeding of juveniles

Juveniles should be fed with seaweed powder or a mixed feed twice a day, in the morning and evening, at a rate of 1-2 % of their body weight.

Water temperature and exchange

The water must be heated during the cold winter months. Some of the methods used include a water tube boiler, a deep well, and a winter house with a plastic film roof. The optimum temperature range is between 10 and 12 °C whilst the absolute lower limit is 5 °C.

Water exchange and aeration

The water should be completely replaced once or twice a day, the bottom cleaned once a week. One air-stone should be added for every 2-3 m2 in order to gently and continuously inject air into the water column.

 

Common problems

Rotten-stomach” disease of auricularia

Early symptoms show a thickened stomach wall, which becomes rough and withered as the auriculariae assume an abnormal shape. Diseased larvae display a slower growth rate than unaffected larvae. Larvae suffering from this disease also have a lower survival rate. In order to control this problem, several actions can be taken as described below.

1. Using healthy broodstock and conditioning them properly are the basic prerequisites to producing healthy larvae, especially in a temperature conditioned hatchery. The water temperature should remain below 20 °C during the broodstock rearing. If the temperature is too high, the gonads will degenerate and auto evisceration may occur. Even after successful spawning under sub optimal conditions the auricularia larvae do not develop properly.

2. Feeding with high quality food without overfeeding. A proper feeding regime should be followed, feeding small quantities frequently, rather than all at once. Old or contaminated food must be avoided.

3. Using proper stocking density. Overcrowding induces slow growth rates and a great variability in body length, as well as causing deformities, “rotten-stomach” and low metamorphosis rates.

4. Maintaining good water quality. Among all the environmental factors that influence the growth and development of the larvae, water temperature and salinity are the two main parameters that require special attention, especially since the natural reproductive season occurs in the summer months when it is hot and rainy. Rainfall may cause a rapid decrease of the salinity in inshore waters and the physico-chemical parameters of the seawater may become non-ideal. High water temperatures (above 23 °C) and/or rainfall can cause slow growth rates and can be responsible for the outbreak of diseases. In order to avoid any problems, deep wells located near the hatchery have been used in recent years. Well water has the advantage over open seawater of being cleaner also in terms of microbes and predators. Furthermore, gravel filters are not required for well water so water can be pumped directly into the rearing tanks.

Mortality of juvenile sea cucumbers

In recent years, many hatcheries have experienced mortality of juveniles during the early growth phase on the settlement plates, especially in individuals under 5 mm in body length. The symptoms are that the body remains contracted, adherence is lost and the body changes from translucent to milky-white. The juveniles then become whiter, start rotting, drop from the plates and eventually die. Mortality may reach 90 %. Solutions proposed include:

1. Ensuring the quality of the broodstock. There will be no healthy juveniles and no high survival rates without healthy broodstock.

2. Maintaining a proper density. Experience shows that overcrowding increases mortality. Overcrowding reduces available space and food availability, causing malnutrition, slow growth rates and size variability. Therefore, it is necessary to reduce the density as the juveniles develop to reach a proper density of 1-2 individuals/cm2 prior to body colour change.

3. Designing a good feeding regime. Feeding a single variety of food for a long period should be avoided; instead, a high quality pellet feed must be used to ensure a proper nutrient balance.

4. Maintaining a proper water temperature. Mortality is usually observed after the juveniles have been exposed to a water temperature above 27 °C for a long period. In summer the rearing water temperature must be reduced by: (a) covering the roof and the settlement tank with straw screens to minimize the amount of sunshine, (b) ventilating efficiently and pumping water during the night, (c) increasing water exchange to at least three times a day, and (d) pumping water from a deep well.

5. Protecting the juveniles from predators. The main predators are copepods, especially Harpactorda sp. They not only compete for food and living space with juvenile sea cucumbers, but also bite them and sometimes kill them. Copepods are particularly dangerous for juveniles under 5 mm in body length. Large numbers of Harpactorda may cause a rapid decrease in the number of juvenile sea cucumber. To eliminate them, crystal dipterex can be used, at a dosage of 2-5 g/m3 of water, followed by a water exchange after 2-3 hours.

Objections:

Concerns and objections have been raised as regard to the impact sea cucumber aquaculture development has on environment:

  1. The number of wild sea cucumber resources plummeting:

In the past, the sea cucumber industry in Dalian area used to depend mainly on wild sea cucumbers. However, with the demand in the market growing, sea cucumbers have been over exploited, and many commercial sea cucumber resources have been subject to varying degrees of damage. As the scale of sea cucumber business continues to grow, the broodstocks of wild sea cucumbers in Dalian area face extinction. In addition, with the natural waters deteriorating, the habitat of sea cucumbers is severely damaged. This causes a decrease in the population of natural broodstock year after year, which leads to lower genetic diversity and worse quality of the broodstock. The increasing consuming demand has threatened the natural resources of sea cucumbers. Russia used to be rich in sea cucumbers in Vladivostok waters, yet now the local sea cucumber resources are severely damaged.

  1. Overuse of chemicals in sea cucumber aquaculture:

Disease prevention:

Along with rapid development of sea cucumber aquacutlture and increase in production scale, various problems have appeared due to farming techniques, pathogenic invasion, germplasm degradation and other reasons. Ever since the appearance of Rotting edges symptom among sea cucumbers in 2003, the diseases of sea cucumbers have been aggravating. Sea cucumber diseases mainly consist of four kinds, which can further be divided into more than 10 types. It has been noted a lack of efficient, low-toxic, environment-friendly chemcals to cure diseases in all stages of sea cucumber aquaculture. Drugs such as penicillin and streptomycin have little effct in preventing and curing diseases during nursery. The epidemiological study showed that the syndromes of rotting edges, ulceration of the stomach in auricularia stages and autolysis of young juveniles were caused by bacterial agents, whereas skin ulceration, erosion of epidermis and body oedema were triggered by various pathogens including bacteria, fungi and parasites during outdoor cultivation. These pathogens induced high mortality rates, occasionally reaching up to 80 %.

Different drugs should be provided to cure diseases in different aquaculture stages of sea cucumbers, yet it has been noted that some farmers are not familiar with the biological and ecological characteristics of the sea cucumbers, which leads to the blind use of antibiotics and disinfectants. To make matters worse, the overuse of drugs has been a common problem among farmers. Some local field surveys have shown a lack of understanding of sea cucumbers and professional knowledge, as well as a blind passion for the sea cucumber aquaculture out of mere financial interest. Some farmers start with the thought of “practice and learn”, and it is usually the environment that pays the price while the farmers overuse the chemicals.

Apart from the disease problems, sea cucumbers are short of resistantce to other organisms. Therefore, the water environment should be cleaned up during the prcess of culturing in order to prevent other organisms such as the harpacticoida, startfish, or sea squirts from swallowing sea cucumbers. To this end, many farmers apply a large quantity of chemicals to clean up the water. Experts are concerned that as chemicals are used from the auricularia stage to the production stage, it leads to emission of pollutants ten times more than culturing shrimps and shellfish. It not only leads to severe coastal environmental pollution, but also kills other speicies such as shellfish. The use of chemicals in the ponds will have negative impact on surrounding environment and wildlife. Plus, the mishandling of the feed of sea cucumbers and their excrement will cause eutrophication that will damage the water quality.

Use of Growth-promoting drugs

Some local research have indicated a common use of drugs to stimulate appetitie and promote growth during sea cucumbers nurturing. While most big companies brand themselves with naturally raised sea cucumbers, they do not inform the consumers of the chemicals they use and there is little research on the effect of these chemicals on consumers’ health.

3. Sea cucumber aquaculture threatening coastal ecosystem:

  1. Impact on coastal eco-environment:

Nutrition and chemical pollution

The nurturing process of the sea cucumber seedling and juveniles requires feeding, and because of the high frequency of diseases breaking out, the farmers add a variety of chemicals into the feed. Because both the feed and the chemicals cannot be fully digested, they are distributed into the environment during the aquaculture process, which leads to short-term or long-term environmental degradation.

Before the putting sea cucumber larvae into the rearing tanks, the farmers usually disinfect the equipments with chlorine disinfectants. Such disinfectants require long time to decay and are hard to clear up completely. Different chemicals have been aritficially added to each stage of the sea cucumber squaculture. This has changed the natural environment, and has an impact on other organisms and the marine environment.

Aquaculture species including sea cucumbers are mainly concentrated in the near-coastal waters and intertidal zone. These ares are the main dumpster for land-sourced pollutants, sewage discharge and aquaculture pollutants.

Threatening coastal wetlands

All sea cucumber farming methods happen close to the coast, because on the one hand, the sea water is needed for nusery, on the other hand, the natural replacement of the sea water in the intertidal zone could be taken advantage of. However, these practices will undoutedly cause damages to coastal wetlands and mudflats. Some villagers living in the Liaodong bay area treat wetlands as “desertland” and “watseland”, exploiting the wetlands to extreme for sea cucumber aquaculture. The over exploitation of wetlands as well as the production of a large amount of waste water, the acid-base balance of the local land is broken and the survival of local birds and viper is threatened as well.

Aquaculture ponds in intertidal zone take up the space of other organisms’ natural habitat and breeding grounds and thus hinder others’ biological growth. At the same time, it is impossible to control the breeding water emissions and the spread of diseases, which will lead to the pollution and destruction of the ecological environment. Some farms use brine for wintering cultivation, and a lot of exploitation of groundwater resources is likely to cause coastal seawater intrusion, leading to salinization of the land.

Possible source of the foul smells from the local beach in Dalian area:

Here is a piece of news from Dalian Daily based on the report of ocean water quality in Dalian of 2011:

Excessive sewage from more than half of the sewage exits monitored in the city

Based on the result of monitoring 32 sewage exits in the city and the water quality of the sea area ajacent to the most important sewage exits, conclusion has been reached that land-based pollution has become the main cause for marine pollution. Among the 32 sewage exits monitored, 17 discharge excessive waste water into the sea area in 2011, accounting for 53.1% of the total.

Sea waste orginates from land

According to a sea waste monitoring…conducted in Spetember, 2011, marine litter mainly comes from human acitivites as well as other enterntainment activities along the coast. People’s mindless dumping and river trash have become the main source of marine litter”

another news piece from Dalian Evening on July 9th, 2012:

“Silt and debris gathered near the sewage pipies start to emit foul stench due to fermentation when the tempreture goes up. Local citizens as well as tourists cannot help but frown when passing by. This is what’s happening recently near the sea area where Heishijiao sewage exit goes into.

It is learnt that there is a intercepting pumping station to the upstream of the Heijiaoshi sewage exit. Normally, after being intercepted by the pumping station, the waste water will go to the sewage treatment plant to get purified. Because most of the sewage network in the downtown area is used for both rainwater and sewage, when there is a continuous rainfall, a large amount of rain water gather into the pipeline within a short time, causing poor drainage, and thus some rainwater, mixed with sewage, overflow from the interception pumping station and eventually goes into the sea through the Heishijiao sewage exit. In addition, the thick silt near the sewage exit, together with the floating garbage, also generate to the foul odor in the summer.”

Another news story from Dalian Daily, July 13th, 2012:

“Located in Heishijiao, the outfall of the No.23 sewage is filled with silt and gravel. The uneven riverbed emits an unpleasant smell. The person in charge of the Pollution Prevention and Control Department at Environmental Protection Bureau said there is usually no water in the area, and the rainwater will bring some garbage, leading to the appearance of the silt and gravel in the outfall when the water goes down. The garbage stays in the water and emits a rotten smell. “When the weather gets hot, the smell is just untolerable.” Said a local resident who was waling on the beach.

Next issue I will share with you Company profiles of the most popular sea cucumber brands in Dalian

 

Initial report on sea cucumber aquaculture in Dalian, China Part 6

 

Company profiles of the most popular sea cucumber brands in Dalian

1. Product brand: 棒槌岛海参 (Bangchui Island Sea cucumber)

Company name: 大连棒棰岛海产股份有限公司Dalian City Bangchui Island seafood Enterprise Group Co., Ltd.

About: Among the earliest to start industrial production of sea cucumbers, Dalian City Bangchui Island seafood Enterprise Group Co., Ltd. is currently the largest professional sea cucumber enterprise in China. The company has largely invested in both sea cucumbers breeding base and production base, and is responsible for construction and management of the only original species station in China. Now it has formed a complete industrial chain of protecting the orginal species, seed breeding, intensive processing, research and development, marketing. The company has a total asset of 500 million yuan, with sea cucumber productions bringing annual sales revenue of over 350 million yuan.
Currently, Bangchuidao has over 300 brand stores and over a thousand independent selling spots throughout 20 provinces and municipalities in China.

Main Industry:

  1. Production baseDalian City Bangchui Island seafood Enterprise Group Co., Ltd. is located in Jinzhou New District, Wuyi Road 987, Dalian City. The base covers an area of nearly 20,000 square meters, with the capacity to process 20 million kilograms of sea cucumbers. The base consists of two large processing plants, devided into workshops for initial processing, further processing, ready-to-eat food processing, and three other modern workshops. It is also equipped with a large refridgerated storage. It produces the following products: light dry sea cucumber, the salted sea cucumbers, ready-to-eat sea cucumber, semi-dry sea cucumber, boutique frozen sea cucumber, freeze-dried sea cucumber, Sea Cucumber capsule, Abalone, ready-to-eat seaweed products.
  2. Breeding baseThe breeding base of the original species owned by the Dalian City Bangchui Island seafood Enterprise Group Co., Ltd. is located in Dalijia Town, Jinzhou New District of Dalian city. The base covers an area of nearly 60,000 square meters, with 11,800 cubic meters of existing ecological nursery water bodies.

Contact information:

Dalian City Bangchui Island seafood Enterprise Group Co., Ltd.

Address: No.987, Wuyi Road, Jinzhou Area, Dalian

Zip code: 116100

Number: (86)0411-87850118

Customer service: 4001066368

Mobile Phone: 15898178666

Fax: 0411-87850808

Website: www.bangchuidao.com.cn

E-mail: manager@bangchuidao.com.cn

 

2. Product brand: 獐子岛海参 ( Zhangzi Island Sea cucumber)

Company name: 大连獐子岛渔业集团股份有限公司(Dalian Zhangzi Island Fishery Group, Ltd.)

About: Zhangzidao Fishery Group, established in 1958, in possession of over 70,000 hectares “A” level seawater area, is the largest company of bottom-cultured precious seafood in China, with its businesses covering hatching, farming, processing, and trading. The company got listed in Shenzhen Stock Exchange and “Zhangzidao” was certified as the first China Well-known Trademark of seafood in 2006. Awarded the “Top 10 Best Employer” and elected as “Member of the Community of Global Growth Companies” in 2007, it set up the US Corp & HK Company in 2008.

Main Industry:

The company has established its marketing center and various specialized departments including the International Trade Department, the Logistics Department, the Marketing Department, etc., and has added offices in key marketing areas to carry out classified management over the product sales and provide relevant services. The company also hires professional management consulting agencies to implement the blue leap project centering on the development of the marketing management model. This project aims at improving the marketing strategy, brand management, media integration and channel development, and carrying out special marketing trainings among the group members, management staff at all levels and marketing personnel, thus improving the marketing capacity of the company in an all-round manner. The company is the largest enterprise engaged in the sea bottom multiplication of choice sea products with its major products enjoying a big market share in the domestic market.

The company also engages in freight and passenger transportations with the following facilities:

Three high speed passenger liners: Zhangzi Island (3600 HP, 200 Seats); Zhangzi Island No.2 (1500 HP, 120 Seats); Zhangzi Island No.3 (1000 HP, 80 Seats).One ro-ro ship: Zhangzi Island No.5 (1080 HP, 282 Seats, parking space for 4 vehicles).One ordinary passenger liner: Zhangzi Island No.4 (350 HP, 180 Seats).One live fish transport ship: Liaochang Fishing Transport No. 18009¨720HP420 tons

The company possesses the Eastern Zhangzi Island Fishing Port with a 400-meter bulwark, 6 berths (the largest one boasts a capacity of 2000 tons), a 1000-ton ice house, a 2000-ton ice house and a gas station; the Sandbag Passenger and Cargo Port with 2 jetty-berths, 1 set berth (the largest berth has a capacity of 1000 tons), an annual passenger transportation capacity of over 100,000 persons and an annual cargo throughput of 146,000 tons; the Dahao Island Port with a 500-ton class jetty-berth; the Xiaohao Island Port with a 200-ton class jetty terminal and the Dalian Island Port with a 200-ton class jetty terminal.

The company now has six propagation plants which can produce 800 million scallop fries (3 cm), 10 million sea cucumber fries and 15 million abalone fries each year.

Processing seafood

The company currently has 4 aquatic processing plants and boasts an annual processing capacity of over 15,000 tons. The raw materials come from the self-made materials of the company and those produced with the so called “five to one” model. The major processing products include Yezo scallops, sea cucumbers, bay scallops, mussels, etc.

 

Contact Information:

Dalian Zhangzidao Fishery Group Co., Ltd

17F&18F China Life Insurance Mansion, No. 26 Renmin Road, Zhongshan District, Dalian, P.R.China

Tel: 0086-411-82659666-8101

Fax: 0086-411-82592985

E-mail: intl@zhangzidao.com

 

Zhangzidao Fishery Group America Corp

P.O. Box 70194 , N. Dartmouth , MA02740

Tel. : (508)-525-4499 ;

Fax : (774)-202-4468; Cell: 416-988-1385

Email: Jackliu@zfamerica.com

 

ZF MAX INTERNATIONAL INCORPORATED

461 N. Service Road West, Suite B10 , Oakville , ON , Canada , L 6M 2V5

Tel: 905-465-2572;

Fax: 905-465-1063

Email: David@zfmaxinc.com

 

3. Product Brand: 财神岛海参( Caishen Island Sea cucumber)

Company name: 大连财神岛集团有限公 (Dalian Caishen Island CO., Ltd.)

About: Dalian Caishen Island CO., Ltd., founded in 2005, owns Dalian Caishen Island Marine Biotechnology Co., Ltd., the Dalian Changhai Beach Aquatic Products Co., Ltd., Dalian Caishen Island Resort Co., Ltd., Changhai Changda Shipping Company, Ltd. It has collecting and nursing broodstock, aquaculture, prodcution processing, producing, research and development, sales, tourism, transportation etc. under its operation. The corporation has two million square meters of the original ecological islands in Changhai County and 20 mu independent waters.

Contact Information:

Address: No.490, Zhongshan Road, Shahekou Area, Dalian, China.

Zipcode: 116011

Phone: 400-6600-129

Fax: 0411-83663667

Website:

http://caishendao.tmall.com

 

4. Product Brand:晓芹海参(Dalian Xiaoqin Sea cucumber)

Company name: 大连晓芹食品有限公司(Dalian XiaoQin food Co., LTD)

About:

Dalian XiaoQin food Co., LTD, founded in 1999, is one of the leading enterprises of the sea cucumber industry in China. The company’s products are sea cucumbers, abalone, turtle, sea cucumber capsule. The company has sea cucumber collecting base over Dachangshan Island, Xiaochangshan Island, Sea Island, and Zhuangheshicheng Island etc. in Changhai County. It has a modern seafood production base with 1200 tons capacity in Jinzhou District of Dalian City, creating an integrated operational system of research and development,  production, processing and sale.

Over ten years, the company established over 300 franchisees and agent groups among 92 cities in 21 provinces of Guangdong, Fujian, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Shandong, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Tianjin, Beijing, Shanghai and other three municipalities. The company generates sale revenue of 350 million yuan in 2010, and 400 million yuan in 2011. In 2012, the company invests 40 million yuan in building research and production base. The company owns more than ten thousand Mu of pollution-free waters in Xiaochangshan Island at Changhai County.

Contact Information:

Adress: Xiaoqin Building, No.30 Southwest Road, Ganjingzi Area, Dalian

Phone: 0411-39546888

E-mail: xiaoqin@xiaoqin.com.cn

Website: http://www. xiaoqin.com.cn

5. Product Brand: 虎平岛野生海刺参 (Huping Island wild sea cucumber)

Company name: 大连虎平岛海珍品有限公司(Dalian Huping Island Seafood Co. LTD.)

About: The company runs the Huping Island sea area, locate in the Bohai Bay in the Lvshunkou District, Dalian (39 ° 06 ‘N, 121 ° E13 ‘.). With the new technology to build stones and hermatypic corals, it expands, to a large extent, the habitat of the sea cucumbers.

Contact information:

Phone: 400-655-9819

Mobile Phone: 13352260168

Fax: 0411-86265299

E-mail: hupingdao@126.com   mzw@hupingdao.net

Address: Shuihuiyao Village, Sanjianbao Street, Lvshunkou Area, Dalian

Websites: www.hupingdao.net/ www.dlhupingdao.com

 

6. Product Brand: 三山岛海参 (Sanshandao sea cucumber)

Company name: 大连三山岛海产食品企业集团 (Dalian Sanshandao Seafood Co., Ltd.)

About:

Founded in 1988, the company runs business in seafood aquaculture, processing and production, sale and capital operation and real estate investment. The “Sanshan Island” brand seafood under the company sells seafood products including sea cucumber, abalone, shark’s fin, scallops, grilled fish, squid, dried fish and other sea dry goods. The company owns 6,000 acres of clean waters of national level one as breeding base, and 20,000 square meters of processing and production base of international standardization. The company selects its seafood from Haiyang Island in Changhai County, Bohai Bay, Guanglu Island etc.

Contact information:

Address: No.117, Yaogong Street, Ganjingzi Area, Dalian

Website: http://www.dlssd.com

Phone: 0086-411-84526118 / 86689898 / 86685858

Fax: 0086-411-84526811

E-mail: ssd_4526811@163.com

Zip code: 116021

 

7. Product Brand: 海晏堂海参 (haiyantang sea cucumber)

Company name: 大连海晏堂生物有限公司 (DALIAN HAIYANTANG BIOLOGY CO.,LTD.)

About:

Founded in 1999, the company sets its market development center in Beijing and industrial development centern Dalian. It is a high-tech enterprise group that has marine biological products, traditional health tonic food research and development, production, sale and service all in one.

After 12 years, the company now has 2 million acres of waters; industrial freeze-dried (FD) Aerospace production line of a large scale, GMP production workshop, Chinese medicine workshop; national sea cucumber scientific research laboratory; ” base for international cooperation in science and technology” recognized by the Ministry of Science and Technology. The main products of the company are the following: standard Cordyceps pure cubilose, natural sea cucumber, dietary supplement, new resources food products etc.

Production base:

The company’s production base is located in Lvshunkou, Dalian, covering approximately 20,000 square meters. It has advanced freez-drying food production line, supersonic airflow grinding equipment, GMP certified Chinese medicine workshop, sea cucumber liquor workshop etc., which makes it capable of producing freeze-dried food, freeze-dried powder processed food, health beneficial wine, and Chinese medicine etc.

The company has its own pollution-free waters in Serry Island, located in the Yellow sea area East to Liaoning, at latitude 39.2 degrees north, longitude 122.6 degrees. It has an annual average temperature of 8 degrees, and Seawater salinity 31.21pp. The company owns an area of 20,000 acres in this area for sea cucumber aquacuture.

Contact information:

Address: No.128, Lianhu Road, Xigang Area, Dalian.

Phone: 400-655-7799

Fax: 0411-84335850

E-mail: tx@sea555.com

 

8. Product Brand: 非得海参肽 (Feide sea cucumber peptide)

Company name: 大连非得生物产业有限公司 (Feide Organisms Industrial Co., Ltd.)

About: The company has registered capital of 50 million yuan, covering an area of 10,668 square meters. Main products are Sea cucumber peptide capsule, sea cucumber wine, peptide protein.

Contact information:
Phone:0411-84795858
Fax: 0411-84790838

 

The Strategy of Change Part 1

 

Over the many years that we have been spearheading positive socio-economic change into our society, we’ve seen the patterns of resistance to change unfold in the same manner over and over again.  Being able to see repetitive toxic patterns within your country, within the world, your immediate environment and within yourself is the first step towards reducing the stress related to change.  Once a toxic pattern can be brought to the surface of the conscious mind and related to the commonality of man it makes it somehow seem less personal.   It opens the mind in creative ways to deal with the resistance in a more effective manner.  Recently for example, in our company’s operations, we ran into a massive resistance to the development of a new system of management in the sea cucumber aquaculture industry.  But we made certain that we were very clear within ourselves that what we were doing was the right thing.  Without rationalization, this gave us the strength to stand our ground, admits the social turmoil over the past few months. And now, the public is being swayed by others into recognizing that what we have to offer the community is something that will be tremendously valuable to the Comox Valley’s economy, and to the Baynes Sound ecology.  To see the latest example to this response by others go to the link below for the In Focus article:

 

http://www.infocusmagazine.ca/2012/deep-sea-delicacy/sea-cucumber/

There you will see a well written 3rd party , fair and supportive article that was written by others standing up to those who are traditionally resistant to any kind of change, beneficial or otherwise.  This approach of clarity from within can be applied reliably at all all levels of your existence.  From a decision to quit a toxic behaviour in your personal life, to a resistance to persuasive tactics of others that lack integrity, to an understanding of what you should be supportive of for the well-being of the world at large.

 

The Strategy of Change Part 2

 

A second strategy for positive change within one’s self and life in general is to recognize the power of habit. All habits are made from a conscious choice. Unfortunately for most of us the conscious choice to create habits within ourselves were made for the most part by other people who often were not working on our behalf. The more obvious examples are the persuasive tactics used by others to get a person to smoke or drink or to eat in a self toxic manner or to conform to their false beliefs in an attempt to put you into a state of subjugation or exploitation to their will. It’s important to recognize that the power of habit cuts both ways. When the time comes to change a habit for one’s own benefit. No habit is broken simply because one chooses to do so. Rather it is like a muscle in the body. The more it is exercised, the stronger it becomes, and the greater ease with which it could be used. So almost all life coaches in one way or another reinforce the concept that to change a habit one must be consistent in wearing away the old entrenched habit and replacing it with a new habit that will be more beneficial to yourself and those around you.

 

Habit change is like meditation, all it takes is a relaxed, consistency of determination and awareness that every time you work to create a new habit, it deepens your ability to do so. And in time, the old toxic habits get left behind and the new beneficial habits fall into place. This applies to all levels of our life. It can be used to help ourselves, to help our children, and to help our society. The simple recognition that repetition over time will get the job done. It’s not going to take super human effort or massive will power or lots of money or unending naval gazing. All it takes is a recognition that habit is necessary to replace habit.

For example, Eric Gant spent many years as a fisherman. He loves the life as any professional hunter will tell you. It can be satisfying in a multitude of ways from the spiritual, to the financial, to the primal. But there comes a time in the lives of all hunters when a fundamental change begins to grow within the person to first and foremost become a caretaker of life rather than simply a taker of life. It’s like a man who ranges free with all the women in his life and then makes his decision to love just the one. And to love beyond all others the child that springs from their love. Even a change such as this really comes down to a habitual change of habitual thinking patterns one to the other. And so we leave behind the old ways of the sea hunter to become the sea rancher of the future.

 

What do clams and money have in common?

 

Your first response is likely that clam is often used as slang for the word money.  But there’s a whole LOT more to it than that, according to Eric Winston Gant, recognized world expert in geoduck (pronounced gooey-duck or gwee-duck) clam aquaculture.

“The high demand for geoducks has created a $100 million world industry. The supply simply is not keeping up with the increasing demand,” says Gant, pioneer of the wild Geoduck Clam Fishery in British Columbia, Canada, and founding director of the Underwater Harvesters’ Association in British Columbia. “Geoducks are a biological goldmine for investors.”

What is a geoduck?

If you have eaten in a sushi restaurant, it is likely you have consumed geoduck.  With a savory flavor and crispy texture, it can be cooked stir fry style, sautéed, used in soup, stewed or prepared as raw sashimi.

Geoducks are the largest burrowing clams in the world, and are often referred to as “elephant trunk clams” by the Chinese because of their large size.  They can live as long as an unbelievable 150 years,

The clams start burrowing into the ocean floor within 40 to 50 days of birth, and they can bury to a depth of 60 cm in two years. Few predators can reach them once they are successful in achieving this depth. A geoduck grows rapidly for the first 10 to 15 years and by that time, it has grown so large that its shell cannot close around it!  Marketable size is reached in five to seven years from birth.

Geoducks eat and breathe by sticking their distinctively long necks above the sand, sucking water in through one tube (to extract algae and oxygen) and spitting water out the other.

Where are geoducks?

Found only off the west coast of North America, geoduck clams have been fished commercially in British Columbia since 1976. Geoduck landings peaked in 1987 at 4239 tonnes but have declined to about 1559 tonnes per year as a result of management actions designed to promote resource conservation. Fishing is now managed by a combination of a total allowable catch (TAC) and individual license quotas.

Because of the high demand, enhancement and aquaculture efforts are playing a growing role in British Columbia geoduck fishery. First collected in 1993, geoduck brood stock continues to be produced at several hatcheries in BC. The geoduck seed produced by the hatcheries is used by lease holders for aquaculture, and by the Underwater Harvesters Association (UHA) for enhancing the wild stocks.

Gant, President of Manatee Holdings, points out that no Geoduck fishing company in British Columbia has come remotely close to Manatee’s investment into Geoduck aquaculture.  “We have the largest equity position in sub tidal Geoduck tenures yet to be developed,” says Gant.

Why invest in geoduck aquaculture?

Increasing demand for geoducks as a delicacy in Asian countries is the immediate market, and not expected to decline anytime soon.  What’s more is geoducks are a high protein food that, along with many other sea grown species, are considered healthy food for the growing world population – demand is expected only to increase in the coming years.

Return on investment can be high if you are willing to invest long term since the geoduck takes seven years to mature enough for harvesting.  For example, a $100,000 investment can potentially bring in a net profit, after operating costs, of about $1.1 million at the end of seven years, Of course, geoduck aquaculture depends on quality of brood stock and attention to natural sources of sustenance, most of which Gant has become an expert at managing.

How do I find out more so I can consider an investment?

 Gant, who presents on the geoduck and aquaculture topics at conferences and universities in the United States, Canada, Thailand, and China, is eager to share his passion about this biological goldmine and investment opportunities.  You can learn more by visiting his websites: www.manateeholdings.com and www.genuinegeoduck.com or you can email Eric Gant at  manateeholdings@gmail.com or call 250-334-9562 to set up an appointment to explore this investment opportunity further.

 

Sea Cucumbers: A Valuable Ocean Vacuum

Facts:  Some sea cucumbers have a unique defense mechanism that makes them disgusting to predators (they shoot some of their own internal organs at their predator – the missing body parts are then regenerated!) They are distantly related to starfish and sea urchins and make up about 80% of all animal mass on the deep ocean floor. They are an animal, not a plant, despite their name. They are widely harvested and grown for financial profit.

Eric Winston Gant, leader in British Columbia aquaculture, particularly in the fields of geoducks and sea cucumbers, has lots more information to share about sea cucumbers, ecology and hybrid forms of aquaculture as a financial investment opportunity.

What’s a sea cucumber for?

Nocturnal sausage shaped sea cucumbers have a leathery and warty skin and dwell on the bottom of oceans world-wide.   With over 900 varieties around the world, it’s called anything from beche de mer (sounds good!) to sea rat (which doesn’t sound so good.)  The Giant Red Sea Cucumber, found along the Pacific Coast of North America, and which grows to 15 cm in length, is critical to the ocean ecology:  “Sea cucumbers are the earth worms of the sea.” says Gant.

As a leader of the Green Ocean Sea Cucumbers (http://www.greenoceanseacucumbers.com/) current proposal to seed two areas in Baynes Sound with native sea cucumbers, Gant is a proponent of allowing the creatures to grow free range along the ocean bottom in the sub-tidal zone with the goal of rebuilding the natural stocks for controlled harvesting.

“The beauty of geoducks and sea cucumbers are that they are beneficial to the ocean, as both each in their own way offset the detrimental impact of the human populations on the shorelines,” says Gant.

 

Making more sea cucumbers naturally

Raised in a farming environment, Gant witnessed what he calls a “mono-culture” approach that resulted in complete ecologies being destroyed to raise one crop.  He is firm in his belief in creating and maintaining sustainable natural ecologies that do not require eliminating everything else to reach the crop goals.

“We can learn from the weaknesses within the wild fishery and aquaculture industries,” Gant points out, “and create a hybrid approach that fits into the natural ecology. We can then create parameters for harvesting at a sustainable level that benefits the fishery, economy, and the environment. “

Who wants sea cucumbers?

People of Japan, China, Taiwan and other Asian countries view sea cucumbers as delicacies via fresh or frozen muscle strips and dried skins (most desirable) or sections, and they are high in protein.  Some varieties are being researched for healing properties as anti-coagulates and anti-inflammatories, in wound healing and even cancer prevention.

Because of the high demand in Asia, sea cucumbers have been over-exploited in many areas of the world including BC and several varieties face extinction, which has led to international aquaculture as a way to meet demand.  For example, China farms sea cucumbers commercially, using large artificial ponds as big as 1000 acres.  Alternatively, wild Alaskan sea cucumbers, for example, are larger and more nutritious than the farmed version, so Alaskan and other North American fisheries can compete for market share.

Currently the BC sea cucumber fishery hosts more than 80 IQ licenses and lasts three weeks in October. Between 2003 to 2010 the average annual harvest was 1.2 million pounds, with an annual landed value of just over $1.8 million.

What are my investment opportunities?

Gant also runs an aquaculture project for geoducks (a high demand, high protein ocean delicacy in Asian countries) currently open for investment.  Return on investment can be high if you are willing to invest long term since the geoduck takes seven years to mature enough for harvesting.  For example, a $100,000 investment can potentially bring in a net profit, after operating costs, of about $1.1 million at the end of seven years,

Gant, who presents on the geoduck, sea cucumber and aquaculture topics at conferences and universities in the United States, Canada, Thailand, and China, is eager to share his passion about this biological goldmine and investment opportunities.  You can learn more by visiting his websites:  www.manateeholdings.com and www.genuinegeoduck.com or you can email Eric Gant at   manateeholdings@gmail.comor call 250-334-9562 to set up an appointment to speak further.

 

Top Three Reasons Aquaculture Can Be a Smart Investment

If you want to invest in a venture that is socially responsible, can make a difference in the world, and can also be very profitable, what would you choose? In this article, Eric Gant explains why he thinks the right kind of aquaculture is a smart investment. Aquaculture is about cultivating and farming fresh and salt water populations under controlled conditions. Most people are familiar with farm raised salmon, for example. Eric
champions what he believes is a better way for us to grow food in the ocean.

 

Back in the 1970’s Eric became a founding director of the Underwater Harvesters Association. This association of licensed fishermen pioneered the geoduck fishery into place in B.C. He has 35 years of experience fishing for geoducks in the wild. He was also the founding President of the Pacific Sea Cucumber Harvesters Association in the 1980’s and has fished that species as well for over 25 years. In 1991 he helped to pioneer the development of the Geoduck clam culture industry into existence in BC as the Founding President of FAN Seafoods Ltd. Around the same time he began advocating a shift in the sea cucumber fishery towards a culture based system of management in order to ensure its sustainability.

He is now recognized as a world expert in geoduck clam aquaculture, and as a pioneering catalyst for the development of the sea cucumber aquaculture industry in B.C. He can tell you what makes sense to him as an investor and what is gaining increasing attention from other socially responsible investors world-wide who want to do more with their money
than just make a profit.

1.) As the world’s population continues to grow food will remain a top priority.

Eric believes what sea pioneer Jacques Cousteau said almost 50 years ago:

“With earth’s burgeoning human population to feed we must turn to the sea with new understanding and new technology. We must farm the sea as we farm the land.”

Eric has added to this basic thought with the idea that we can culture food in the ocean in a manner that is more environmentally beneficial to the surrounding ecology than has traditionally been done on land. His working system for the aquaculture of geoduck and sea cucumber reflects his belief in preserving natural ecosystems.

The demand for fish around the world is increasing quickly, especially in Africa and Asia. According to WorldFish, from 2007 to 2015, the demand for sea food has grown 9 to 48%, depending on location, with parts of Africa and China on the high end.
The growing demand for healthy protein rich food, along with the limits on human capability to produce more on land continues to drive the growth of aquaculture. When aquaculture is done in an eco-friendly and sustainable manner it addresses the main criticisms made about the more traditional forms of aquaculture. Ensuring that a cultured specie is native to the area, is raised in a healthy environment free of pollution, is cultured extensively rather than intensively, is not fed unnatural feeds, is done in a way that does not disrupt the surrounding ecology, is raised organically, from the healthiest of broodstock, and done in a way that offsets the detrimental impact of humans on the ocean, will provide us with an incredible source of quality food for people throughout the world, as other food production systems start to collapse from being ecologically
unsound.

2.) The sea is being over fished. The right kind of aquaculture can provide a sustainable alternative.
There is no question in Eric’s mind, based on his extensive fishing experience that many seafood and ocean plants of all types have been depleted over the last century; and, that this is continuing to happen in many of the fisheries around the world, including his own.

Responsible aquaculture can help rebuild the population of native species by taking the pressure off the wild catch. It can also help rebuild the wild populations. Geoducks, for example, can live to be 150 years old. This makes them an ideal candidate for environmentally responsible ranching because the animals that are raised from a healthy selection of broodstock begin spawning back into the wild in their third year of growth.

In this way the animals can help rebuild the wild stocks. Because of their longevity, and no cost to contain or feed, they become the equivalent of a biologically gold mine that can be mined slowly according to market demand without depletion because of reseeding. This creates a steady, controllable, supply of product onto the world markets enabling the marketers to satisfy the need of their clients for a steady supply of healthy
product. Because the supply is controllable in this way by the grower it enables a healthy price to be maintained for their product.

3.) Aquaculture has and continues to experience steady and strong financial growth. From a purely financial standpoint, aquaculture is growing, and is expected to increase the rate of its growth. The entire sea cucumber fishery in B.C. for example produces less than 100 tons of finished product. Many of the more knowledgeable marketers expected
there will be a 30,000 ton shortfall in world markets within the next five years. There is a similar expectation in the geoduck market world-wide. Europe has been clamoring for our product for decades but there is simply not enough supply to go around. Wikipedia reports the growth rate per annum worldwide for sea food in general is 8%. In 2009 the
market reached $89 billion. Sea food is one of the fastest growing areas of food production in the United States. China, which has upwards of 70% of the world market, continues to see increases in both need and business opportunity.
Recent focuses on technological improvements in equipment and process; greater attention being paid to the environment and its diverse  ecosystems; and, the increasing of aquaculture profitability through intelligent marketing, is making aquaculture an increasingly attractive investment.

Eric is presently developing joint ventures with several First Nations bands as part of their land claim settlements in Canada. Together, they are in the process of securing substantial subtidal grow-out tenures. He is attracted to his First Nation partners because of their long history as ecological caretakers. His role in the relationship will be help make the operations profitable so that his First Nations partners can achieve their goal of becoming economically independent from government subsidy over the next few years.

As part of his role in the development of these larger scale projects he is looking for financiers who respect and share in the vision for creating large scale, “Profitable Ecological Caretaking” food production operations as part of our country’s shift from fishing to ranching at sea.

“I believe what we are doing is creating a biological gold mine in the very best sense of the word.” says Gant.

His efforts are supported by his spouse and Vice-President of Manatee Holdings Ltd., Lourdes Gant, who was recently named one of Canada’s top 100 female entrepreneurs, according to an annual ranking released by two prominent Canadian magazines.

Want to learn more about aquaculture investment opportunities? Visit Manatee’s websites:

www.genuinegeoduck.com or www.manateeholdings.com for a more in depth look or contact Eric or Lourdes directly at manateeholdings@gmail.com.