The FAO says the fast growth in sea cucumber fishing to meet global demand is putting pressure on stocks, and management plans are urgently needed to protect economies of coastal communities.
The sea cucumber is really an echinoderm. It forms an important part of the Asian diet, where it is eaten in soups, stews and stir-fries. There is a roaring export trade between Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines, and China and the rest of Asia.
A new report, Sea Cucumbers: a global review of fisheries and trade, says that management plans for fisheries are not common, so the demand can cause over-fishing.
It says management plans specific to local circumstances are required, including catch quotas and minimum size limits, closures during breeding seasons, and better monitoring of the status of stocks.