Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


‘Houdini’ sea cucumbers a potentially lucrative industry

‘Houdini’ sea cucumbers a potentially lucrative industry


They may not be the prettiest of sea creatures but University of Auckland researcher Leo Zamora says sea cucumbers are not only fascinating but a potential major export earner for New Zealand.

They may not be the prettiest of sea creatures but University of Auckland researcher Leo Zamora says sea cucumbers are not only fascinating but a potential major export earner for New Zealand.

Leo has been studying sea cucumbers for five years and graduates from the University of Auckland tomorrow with a PhD in Marine Science. His research contributes new knowledge about a species that is highly sought-after around the world, particularly in China.

But he has only tasted one once.

“My cooking skills are not the best so I just boiled one up, it was pretty flavourless and the texture was unusual,” Leo says. “But in Chinese cooking they are used dried and added to all kinds of dishes and they are supposed to just melt in your mouth. They are a delicacy in China and often served on special occasions like weddings.”

Sea cucumbers are “deposit feeders” which means they ingest sediment and its associated microorganisms including bacteria from the dead bodies and faeces of other animals from the sea floor. New Zealand has several native species, but only one is potentially suitable for farming.

But herding sea cucumbers is no easy task.

“They are the Houdinis of the marine world,” Leo says, “they can escape through just about anything, so sea ranching in cages is not that easy. Also the larvae flows into the water column and away, so to keep a population in one place you have to have successful hatchery techniques.”

Leo’s research found sea cucumbers grow faster in colder temperatures where they can grow from 30gms to a commercially-harvestable size of 100gms in 18 months provided they have enough food. Mussel farmers are particularly keen on the concept of farming sea cucumbers because there is plenty of food from the mussels overhead and sea cucumbers help clean up the sea floor.

“So you are growing two species for the price of one,” Leo says.

Top species of sea cucumbers sell for roughly US$1000 per kilogram dried (100kg of fresh sea cucumber equals 10 kg of dried). New Zealand’s species are thought to be worth around US$275 per kg.

Leo completed his PhD studies on a scholarship from his native Chile. He hopes to work in New Zealand for the next two years.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Sky City : Auckland Convention Centre Cost Jumps By A Fifth

SkyCity Entertainment Group, the casino and hotel operator, is in talks with the government on how to fund the increased cost of as much as $130 million to build an international convention centre in downtown Auckland, with further gambling concessions ruled out. The Auckland-based company has increased its estimate to build the centre to between $470 million and $530 million as the construction boom across the country drives up building costs and design changes add to the bill.
More>>

ALSO:

RMTU: Mediation Between Lyttelton Port And Union Fails

The Rail and Maritime Union (RMTU) has opted to continue its overtime ban indefinitely after mediation with the Lyttelton Port of Christchurch (LPC) failed to progress collective bargaining. More>>

Earlier:

Science Policy: Callaghan, NSC Funding Knocked In Submissions

Callaghan Innovation, which was last year allocated a budget of $566 million over four years to dish out research and development grants, and the National Science Challenges attracted criticism in submissions on the government’s draft national statement of science investment, with science funding largely seen as too fragmented. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Spark, Voda And Telstra To Lay New Trans-Tasman Cable

Spark New Zealand and Vodafone, New Zealand’s two dominant telecommunications providers, in partnership with Australian provider Telstra, will spend US$70 million building a trans-Tasman submarine cable to bolster broadband traffic between the neighbouring countries and the rest of the world. More>>

ALSO:

More:

Statistics: Current Account Deficit Widens

New Zealand's annual current account deficit was $6.1 billion (2.6 percent of GDP) for the year ended September 2014. This compares with a deficit of $5.8 billion (2.5 percent of GDP) for the year ended June 2014. More>>

ALSO:

Still In The Red: NZ Govt Shunts Out Surplus To 2016

The New Zealand government has pushed out its targeted return to surplus for a year as falling dairy prices and a low inflation environment has kept a lid on its rising tax take, but is still dangling a possible tax cut in 2017, the next election year and promising to try and achieve the surplus pledge on which it campaigned for election in September. More>>

ALSO:

Job Insecurity: Time For Jobs That Count In The Meat Industry

“Meat Workers face it all”, says Graham Cooke, Meat Workers Union National Secretary. “Seasonal work, dangerous jobs, casual and zero hours contracts, and increasing pressure on workers to join non-union individual agreements. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news