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

 

Real Estate: Housing Prices Head South In Most Of NZ

Housing became more affordable for first home buyers in many parts of the country including Auckland last month, as falling prices more than offset rising mortgage interest rates. More>>

ALSO:

Cosmetics & Pollution: Proposal To Ban Microbeads

Cosmetic products containing microbeads will be banned under a proposal announced by the Minister for the Environment today. Marine scientists have been advocating for a ban on the microplastics, which have been found to quickly enter waterways and harm marine life. More>>

ALSO:

NIWA: 2016 New Zealand’s Warmest Year On Record

Annual temperatures were above average (0.51°C to 1.20°C above the annual average) throughout the country, with very few locations observing near average temperatures (within 0.5°C of the annual average) or lower. The year 2016 was the warmest on record for New Zealand, based on NIWA’s seven-station series which begins in 1909. More>>

ALSO:

Farewell 2016: NZ Economy Flies Through 2016's Political Curveballs

Dec. 23 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand's economy batted away some curly political curveballs of 2016 to end the year on a high note, with its twin planks of a booming construction sector and rampant tourism soon to be joined by a resurgent dairy industry. More>>

ALSO:

NZ Economy: More Growth Than Expected In 3rd Qtr

Dec. 22 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand's economy grew at a faster pace than expected in the September quarter as a booming construction sector continued to underpin activity, spilling over into related building services, and was bolstered by tourism and transport ... More>>

  • NZ Govt - Solid growth for NZ despite fragile world economy
  • NZ Council of Trade Unions - Government needs to ensure economy raises living standards
  • KiwiRail Goes Deisel: Cans electric trains on partially electrified North Island trunkline

    Dec. 21 (BusinessDesk) – KiwiRail, the state-owned rail and freight operator, said a small fleet of electric trains on New Zealand’s North Island would be phased out over the next two years and replaced with diesel locomotives. More>>

  • KiwiRail - KiwiRail announces fleet decision on North Island line
  • Greens - Ditching electric trains massive step backwards
  • Labour - Bill English turns ‘Think Big’ into ‘Think Backwards’
  • First Union - Train drivers condemn KiwiRail’s return to “dirty diesel”
  • NZ First - KiwiRail Going Backwards for Xmas
  • Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Sci-Tech
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news