• Non-ICIMOD publication


Generated with Avocode. icon 1 Mask color swatch

Assessing the potential for closure rules in the Sri Lankan sea cucumber fishery: Empirical models of practices and preferences of fishers

  • D. V. P. Prasada
  • Summary

The sea cucumber fishery in Sri Lanka is facing over-exploitation as global demand for beche-de-mer (processed sea cucumbers) continue to rise and the sea cucumber fishery remains largely unregulated. This study assesses the potential for three temporal closure scenarios as a management tool based on data collected from 560 divers across 32 landing sites. These 32 landing sites cover all of the commercial fishery regions in Sri Lanka. Fishers state that stock depletion is occurring. The study models fisher preferences for three closure scenarios with respect to harvesting effort, prices paid for specific sea cucumber species, and the percentage of mature sea cucumbers caught from each harvesting trip. Further, we calculate the incremental cost of these three closure scenarios. In general, the higher the percentage of mature animals harvested, the lower is the preferences for closure. In other words, divers prefer the imposition of a closure only as the catch declines. This is also indicative of the fact that divers are conscious of the distribution of sizes (also an indication of size of sexual maturity) of sea cucumber species, especially in high and medium value species. Higher prices reduce the preference for closures in general. Preference for closure is associated inversely with effort. With respect to the socio-demographic factors of fishers, those with higher education levels and longer experience show greater support for adoption of closures.