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

 

BusinessDesk: Weak Dairy Prices Prompt Pull Back In Fonterra Forecasts

Weak global dairy prices have prompted analysts to pull back their expectations for Fonterra Cooperative Group's payout to farmers for next season. More>>

Broadband Network: Spark Launches New, Competitive Ultra Fibre Plan Line-Up

Spark is giving customers an even more compelling reason to switch to its Ultra Fibre plans from today with the introduction of new competitive pricing for the majority of its plans (details below) and Fibre Landline (voice-over-fibre technology) for ... More>>

Employment: ANZ Proposes Casualisation In Whangarei Stores

ANZ workers in Whangarei could see their incomes drop by 20 to 40 percent if the bank’s proposal to reduce the number of full-time positions goes ahead says FIRST Union national organiser Tali Williams. More>>

Finance: BNZ Develops Specialist Tāmaki Māori Banking Team

BNZ develops specialist Tāmaki Māori Banking Team to support Māori as Auckland grows More>>

Pharmaceuticals: Commerce Commission To Consider Pharmaceuticals Merger

The Commerce Commission has received an application from Pfizer Inc. seeking clearance to acquire all of the shares in Hospira Inc. More>>

Real Estate: Housing Unaffordability Issues Spread

Surging house prices in Auckland and Queenstown last month pushed home ownership even further beyond the reach of first home buyers in the two districts, according to the AMP360 Home Loan Affordability Report for March. More>>

Statistics NZ: Annual Exports To China Dip Below Australia

The value of goods exports to Australia ($8.7 billion) surpassed those to China for the year ended March 2015, Statistics New Zealand said today. More>>

Science: Hookworm Discovery At Malaghan Institute

Professor Graham Le Gros has led a team which has stimulated both innate and memory responses to the parasite, discovering along the way the unexpected behaviour of one particular immune cell, in Hookworm, one of the world’s most devastating tropical ... More>>

Business: Provinces Urged To Make Full Use Of New Air Services

Provincial New Zealand has been urged to use new air services to Auckland or risk losing them either partially or completely. The stark warning was issued today by Far North mayor John Carter at a ceremony at Kaitaia airport to mark the final Air ... More>>

Mobile: 2degrees To Credit All Calls And SMS To Nepal

In the wake of the devastating earthquake in Nepal in the weekend, 2degrees will be crediting all calls and SMS messages made to mobiles and landlines in Nepal from Friday 24th April until midnight Wednesday 29th April. More>>

Scoop Business: Alex Swney Pleads Guilty To $2.5M Fraud Charge

Alex Swney, former chief executive of the Auckland city centre business association Heart of the City, has pleaded guilty to dishonestly using documents to obtain $2.5 million. More>>

ALSO:

Petrol Burns Prices: Second Consecutive Quarterly Fall For CPI

The consumers price index (CPI) fell 0.3 percent in the March 2015 quarter, following a 0.2 percent fall in the December 2014 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. The last time the CPI showed two consecutive quarterly falls was in the December 1998 and March 1999 quarters. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news