On Jan 20 and 21, TRCT members supported measuring operation of sea cucumbers by Cooperative Research & Extension (CRE) of College of Micronesia (COM).

Off the beach of Meerur village, COM-CRE and TRCT set a farming area and many cucumbers, called Sandfish, or “Holothuria scabra,” were farmed in past three years. At the beginning of the faming, those were just tiny fertilized eggs, now they grew big up to 8-inch or 20-cm long.

Through the operation in two days, over 700 cucumbers were collected from the shallow farming area and were brought back to the men’s house of the village for the measurement. After checking the size and weight of all, they were released to the open water.

The aim of the research is to identify the growth rate of the sea cucumber. Originally the sea cucumbers were very common in Yap water, however over catch of those intended to ship to China made those almost extinct in the ocean.

In 2017, the project started by COM-CRE with TRCT as a partner. Sea cucumbers are called as an “ocean cleaner,” according to specialists at COM-CRE. They eat sedimentation, and discharge sand, like a sand filter. Sea cucumbers play an important role to keep the ocean healthy. Without healthy number of sea cucumbers, the ocean would be dirty and dark, and coral could not grow. Healthy corals support healthier habitat of fishes and other sea creatures.

(Reported by GOTO Haruka, student of Waseda University)