White Teatfish (Sea Cucumber) (2018)
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White Teatfish is a species of sea cucumber found in northern Australia. It is assessed as sustainable in Qld and in the Torres Strait Bêche-de-mer Fishery (Commonwealth). Stocks in the NT and the Commonwealth Coral Sea Fishery are undefined.
Stock Status Overview
|Northern Territory||Trepang Fishery||TF||Undefined|
- Trepang Fishery (NT)
White Teatfish is broadly distributed throughout the tropical Indo-Pacific [Conand 1990]. There are likely to be populations in all Northern-Australian states and territories. However, there is very little information on the distribution, abundance and stock structure of White Teatfish in northern Australia. Current taxonomic records indicate that its distribution extends from Ningaloo in Western Australia to Brisbane, Queensland [ALA 2018]. The known depth range of this species is 0–40 m, but most animals are caught between 15 m and 30 m [Conand et al. 2013].
Here, assessment of stock status is reported at the management unit level—Torres Strait Beche-de-mer Fishery, Coral Sea Fishery (Commonwealth), Trepang Fishery (Northern Territory) and East Coast Sea Cucumber Fishery (Queensland).
Northern Territory Trepang Fishery licensees are permitted to harvest White Teatfish, but have not done so in the last 10 years. This is because much of the area of the fishery (from the high water mark to three nautical miles beyond the territorial sea baseline) is shallower than the apparent depth preference for this species (15─30 m), as well as lack of suitable reef habitat at this depth within the declared fishery. All six Northern Territory Trepang Fishery licenses are owned by a single entity, with only a subset of licenses being active in any given year. This being the case, catch data for the fishery are confidential.
White Teatfish have been caught in the Northern Territory outside of the Trepang Fishery under a single special research permit, but the resultant catch information is also confidential. Exploratory fishing undertaken through this permit was subject to stringent harvest and reporting conditions.
There are no accounts, formal or otherwise, of the harvest of White Teatfish by charter boat clients, Indigenous fishers or recreational fishers in the Northern Territory. The small, sporadic and exploratory commercial harvest of White Teatfish in this jurisdiction means that there is insufficient information available to confidently classify the status of this stock.
On the basis of the evidence provided above, the Trepang Fishery (Northern Territory) management unit is classified as an undefined stock.
White Teatfish (Sea Cucumber) biology [Purcell et al. 2012]
|Species||Longevity / Maximum Size||Maturity (50 per cent)|
|White Teatfish (Sea Cucumber)||12+ years, 570 mm TL||320 mm TL, 4 years|
Northern Territory – Indigenous (Management methods) The Fisheries Act 1988 (NT), specifies that “…without derogating from any other law in force in the Territory, nothing in a provision of this Act or an instrument of a judicial or administrative character made under it limits the right of Aboriginals who have traditionally used the resources of an area of land or water in a traditional manner from continuing to use those resources in that area in that manner”.
Queensland – Indigenous (Management methods) Under the Fisheries Act 1994 (Qld), Indigenous fishers in Queensland are entitled to use prescribed traditional and non-commercial fishing apparatus in waters open to fishing. Size and possession limits, and seasonal closures do not apply to Indigenous fishers. Further exemptions to fishery regulations may be applied for through permits.
- Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) 2018, Holothuria (Microthele) fuscogilva Cherbonnier, 1980.
- Conand, C 1990, The fishery resources of Pacific island countries. Part 2. Holothurians, FAO, Rome.
- Conand, C, Purcell, S and Gamboa, R 2013, Holothuria fuscogilva. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T200715A2681354. Downloaded on 27 July 2018.
- Department of Agriculture and Fisheries 2018, Queensland Stock Status Assessment Workshop Proceedings 2018. Species Summaries, 19–20 June 2018, Brisbane.
- Patterson, H, Larcombe, J, Nicol, S andCurtotti, R 2018, Fishery status reports 2018, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, Canberra. CC BY 4.0.
- Purcell, S, Samyn, Y and Conand, C 2012, Commercially important sea cucumbers of the world, FAO Species Catalogue for Fishery Purposes. No. 6, Rome, 150 pp.
- Skewes, T, Plaganyi, E, Murphy, N, Pascual, R and Fischer, M 2014, Evaluating rotational harvest strategies for sea cucumber fisheries, CSIRO, Brisbane.
Click the links below to view reports from other years for this fish.