Sea Cucumbers in Maine
Sea cucumbers, sometimes called "pickles", belong to a group of animals that include the starfish, sand dollars and sea urchins. The meat, which includes the body wall and longitudinal muscles, is highly prized in the markets of the far east. Worldwide, sea cucumbers have been harvested for many years, particularly in the tropical western Pacific and Indian Oceans. Sea cucumbers are also a source of chondroitin sulfate, used to treat arthritis and other ailments.
A fishery in Maine began in earnest in 1994 with the sudden development of foreign markets. It is still small relative to other more established fisheries. About 0.5 million pounds were landed during 2014, the last year for which data are available, with a landed value of about $162,000.
It is currently a very limited, closed-access drag fishery with 6 boats licensed in 2019.
- Historical Maine sea cucumber landings data
- Maine sea cucumber harvest laws - Scroll down to 12 §6801-A, 12 §6811–14, and 12 §6821
- Maine sea cucumber harvest regulations - Scroll down to Chapter 27
- Wikipedia: Cucumaria frondosa, the orange-footed sea cucumber
- Feindel et al. 2011. The Maine sea cucumber (Cucumaria frondosa) fishery (DMR report, PDF file, 9 pages, 226 kb)
- Chen et al. 2007. An evaluation of the Maine sea cucumber resources
and impacts of exploitation. (Report to NEC, PDF file, 67 pages, 1.8 MB)
- Feindel. 2002. Status of the Maine sea cucumber
fishery. (Report to the Maine legislature, PDF file, 36 pages, 2 MB)
- 1997 Report on Maine's sea cucumber fishery and biology by DMR's Stanley Chenoweth and Jay McGowan
- South Pacific Commission's Bêche de Mer information bulletins