Project to revive Papua New Guinea’s lucrative beche-de-mer export industry begins at new mariculture centre in Kavieng


A four-year, A$1.7 million (K3.6 million) project has begun to map out how to revive Papua New Guinea’s dormant sea cucumber industry.

The USC's Paul Southgate with beche-de-mer

The USC’s Paul Southgate with beche-de-mer

Fishing industry insiders believe that a ban on gathering and selling beche-de-mer, or sea cucumbers, may be lifted in the near future.The PNG Government introduced the moratorium in 2009 because of over-fishing.

‘Stocks have recovered quite well so that the moratorium may be lifted at some stage, but what we want to avoid is a repeat of what happened in the past, and avoid overfishing,’ says Project Leader Paul Southgate, the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Professor of Sustainable Tropical Agriculture.

The project is being funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and will be based at the PNG National Fisheries Authority’s Mariculture Research Facility in Kavieng.

The facility is a former Japanese-owned tuna processing plant, which the NFA developed to create a modern mariculture research centre.

In demand

Southgate says locals and National Fisheries Authority staff will be trained in sustainably culturing marine species for potential export to Australian and Asian markets.

‘Sea cucumbers are quite strange-looking animals, but they are in high demand in south-east Asia for their perceived medicinal properties,’ says Southgate.

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‘Prices for the highest grade, and those species most in demand, are around the A$250 to A$400 (K530 to K850) a kilo mark. But, in Hong Kong, prices can range from US$115 to 640 per kg (K349 to K1,940).

‘So there’s a lot of demand and huge opportunity. The question is where supply comes from.’


Mariculture provides an opportunity for a more regular supply of product, says Southgate, ‘so: constant and routine supply, rather than a boom-and-bust type situation, which characterises sea cucumber fisheries.’

‘We are using pens to culture juvenile sea cucumbers at this research stage. But, as the industry develops, we may progress to ranching: basically, producing the animals in a hatchery and then releasing the juveniles into good sites or areas which we know suit growth and development.

‘Prices for the highest grade and those species most in demand are around the A$250-400 (K530-K850) a kilo mark. But in Hong Kong, prices can range from US$115-640 per kg (K349-K1,940). So there’s a lot of demand and huge opportunity.’

‘The research will look at how we can identify aquaculture animals so they can be differentiated from wild collected sea cucumbers.

‘Anecdotally, wild sea cucumbers are reputed to have greater quality but it’s hard to know where that information comes from because very few people have actually aquacultured them and grown them to market size. Our research indicates that cultured sea cucumbers have very similar qualities to those collected from the wild.’

The project will map those parts of the PNG coastline which are suitable for sea cucumber culture, sites which are less suitable and sites which are unsuitable. It will estimate potential production values for each of those areas.


The project will also look at how to market beche-de-mer, from packaging through to labelling, which will probably promote the product as coming from a sustainable farming regime.

Initial research has shown that the potential income from sea cucumber farming could be A$32,000 (K68,620) per hectare per year in New Ireland.

An assessment of sea cucumber fisheries in the Western, Central and Manus Provinces in 2007 showed that on average, households which harvested sea cucumbers could make A$1,400-4,2000 (K3,000-K9,000) per year from the sale of beche-de-mer.


  1. Patterson Kandoro Bega says

    I’m one of those interested person, looking for a beche-der-mar partner for next year 2023 beche-der-mar season.

    With due respect, I am looking for partner that can work with me ,

    Please advise me, if you have partner for beche-der-mar I’m preparing myself for next year beche-der-mar season

  2. Are you looking for a market overseas to export your dried sea cucumbers to? We got buyers in Hong Kong and Singapore willing to pay good prices for high quality sea cucumbers to export to Hong and Singapore. Email We deal with licensed buyers, storers and exporters as well as well as fishermen/fisherwomen. We can also help connect investors with locals.

  3. titus lau says

    I am Titus Lau currently looking for Financiers in Lae, Morobe Province, Name of License. CD LEAF, IMMEDIATLY REQUIRED FINANCIERS, in Lae Morobe PNG.

  4. i want to buy some for home cooking only at Port Moresby

  5. Paul Kehenu says

    I live on one of the coastal village in Madang which have a strong family ties across Rai coast and the North Coast plus Island of BagBag which has the volume of Beche Der Met all grades, villagers are harvesting but lack buyers, so please need a buyer urgently.. Please text and call me on 71325649 or Send me an Email, Paulo when up

  6. moses onom says

    Im look for a goog buyer who can buy my product.
    Email me or call me so we can chat.

  7. I know where to find high species with quality here in bougainville..
    Please contact me..

  8. Lawrence Namusi says

    Arob fisheries Authority must ensure to encourage Bechedemer aquaculture in the Atolls to keep them marketing all year round empowering their livelihood sustainability…. If the Solomons islanders can research it and harnessing it to date then BFA must budget for it same as the Seaweed in Carteret lagoon…Cmon put that Png NFA k15 million kina into a long term life saver…

  9. I can finance sea cucumber businesses.
    My requirements are:
    1:export license
    2:buyer license
    3:storage license
    Produce me above documents on:
    (b) whatsapp:+67579378295
    (c) facebook me via Rex Yapi Epa

    *I’ll fund fund above licenses holders in initial capital.Proceeds from sales will be shared 50/50 this 2018 harvest season.

    ….Hurry and call me on 79378295.Ban by NFA will be lifted 1st July,2018.

    • Broderick Mongai says

      Hi!!! Am interested with your offer but i don’t have the above documents, please fund me I can make 10 to 15 40kg bags of dried sea cucumbers I am happy with the 50/50 deal please if you a interested call me now 74383642..

    • My father is an exporter and I’m one of his buyer.I need capital to start buying immediately.I agreed with your 50/50 deal.For more discussion call me on 71416161.

    • I have export license,buyers license,and storage license but I need financial assistance. Capital to start with.If you finance me than we can go for 50/50 deal as you suggest.

  10. CK Chua says

    For any interested PNG sea cucumber Buyer, mainly those in Asean countries, we are a reliable and
    genuine licence operator cum supplier of a varieties of sea cucumber and of different grades to offer, with direct licence to harvest in PNG.

    With the harvest just round the corner, in July ’18, we are anticipating ample stock of dried sea
    cucumber to arrive on staggered deliveries, to our warehouse in Singapore comes Aug / Sept ’18.

    Hence, as its on a First-Come-First-Serve basis, kindly advise me your interest such as your full name,
    company name ( if any ), full address, mobile number, email address, types of sea cucumber you are
    interested, quantity, indicative price, etc.

    Subsequently, we will email to you the photos of our stock when the stock arrived, price range,
    as well as location of our stock, should you be interested to view the stock before confirming
    your order.

    Should you require further information or quiries, please do not hesitate to contact me at

    We look forward to your valuable orders and be of service to you.

    Thank you.

  11. Lawrence Namusi says

    Lawrence Namusi
    Thank you all for those who have harvested and stocked up weights of sea cucummber before the actual NFA blockage lifting thats next month of July..

    I also brought in my divers from the neigbouring Western Province..My location is at Arob,Empress Augusta Bay….
    Am also looking for best price buyers to get attached with me..Contact me through my email

  12. Hello Everyone,
    I’m setting up a dive team for BDM in the Milne Bay Prov. I’m looking at harvesting approx 200-300kgs this season.
    Id you’re an exporter or buyer, please get in touch with me on the details below…

  13. Solomon Bevaro says

    I have exporting licence, buying licence and storage licence, and I am looking for financial partner to operate.
    Can you arange me one?

  14. Marena Moilani says

    Hello we are looking for a exporter/ buyer of sea cucumber all pieces. Our team of divers a currently at our Atolls of Bougainville doing their job and we should have some tonnes of sea cucumber to sell.
    Please email me if interested buy so we’ll keep it for you.

    Thank you.
    Kind regards,

    Marena Moilani

  15. william kupe says

    I have a buyer license we have stock of sand fish in Manus and I am looking for buyer. contact me 72864898 Ben Kuve

  16. My husband has 3 50kg of dried sea cucumber. Please send me information on the exact date of sea cucumber market will be open, and also the prices for each different species.

  17. i have tons of sea cucumber and iam looking for good market with good price. this is my email adress…

  18. Francis Alu says

    I’m a exporter here in New Ireland and need a good buyer from Hong Kong who can give me better price for becherdemer when the season opens in June 2018.can contact me on email add.

  19. Robert kulno says

    Can someone give mi some pricing ideas of dried sea cucumbers.
    I have stock to export.

  20. John Akua says

    Please tell me agent buyer in Lae so I can contact them. I have the product.

    • Willie peterson says

      My father is a sea cucumber license buyer in Kimbe so you need or wants to sell sea cucumber please call:70142376.

      Will help you.



  21. Hi, and can you please email me the procedure and process or steps on how to go about to been a sea cucumber seller to the specific markets. Especially the preferred sea cucumbers on the market as there are different species of sea cucumbers and don’t want to harvest the wrong ones.

  22. Please send me information for sea cucumbers collection,when is the right time for collection and also the process of drying it. Also the prices for each type.

    Thank you


  23. Andrew.Wallam says

    What species of sea cucumber in PNG are morally exported to overseas markets.

  24. Hilda Lipen Julius says

    I am interested in ranching of sea cucumber, please provide me more information.
    also, I am in the process of collecting data from our small lagoon after this years harvesting.
    please email me information on standards size for harvesting and where to get more information to

  25. Bradley Apawa says

    I have 2 tons of Sea cucumber sitting in my storage..Any interested buyers pls forward your price list to my email

  26. Douglas Kendi says

    We have availble sea cucumber from AROB, any interested buyers can contact me at

  27. Ryan Sagowa Nagayagaya says

    I currently have 6 x 50kg full packed of sand fish sea cucumber and am very much interested to find a buyer at a reasonable price, harvested in South coast of Kiriwina, Trobrian Island. Please advise through my email address.

  28. Andrew Mai says

    Could someone please provide me with the details of how to process the harvest and details of prices for the various species? I have clients in wishing to go into this business.

  29. Lawrence Solomon says

    The plan for sustainable harvest of sea cucumbers will take sometime to achieve. Opening of the 2017 bdm harvest season is a welcome for ordinary fishers after 7 years closure. However after a month of fishing this animal there are serious issues that have come to light.
    To fishers it is doing the most familiar, the same thing they did in 2009. This means a “free for all” harvesting of sea cucumbers of any size and any animal. The Management Plan on bdm requires minimum live and dried bdm but the fishers don’t know anything about this. No one from NFA carried out awareness about the new Management Plan. As a result in Buka AROB, there are huge volumes of undersized bdm, and in the case of Surf Redfish ratio of undersized to legal size is 20:1 in Kg. There are processing issues also and wastages.
    In Buka we have a Chinese buying even undersized bdm and people from the nearby islands have flocked into Buka town some spending several nights there trying to sell bdm. Other buyers are trying to stick to the law but are under pressure to buy also undersized bdm.
    We don’t know how much of TAC for AROB had been reached so far as reporting is slow. If buyers are reporting only bdm’s that meet minimum sizes then there is a real risk of over fishing. That is if TAC is composed of only legal sized bdm and undersized bdm not taken into account this fishery will collapse.
    A ban for 6 years is inevitable.

    • Mitakata Pople says

      Bro, THANKYOU for your wise comments. The fact of the matter is bdm can be sustainable if people don’t get greedy (for overnight satisfaction). If everyone simply follow the simple, straight forward guide lines set by NFA we shouldn’t have extended bans. Kagutoki!

  30. Leonard Jahak says

    Those of you looking for BDM buyers to buy your products should consult your respective provincial fisheries office so they can direct you to licensed BDM buyers.

  31. NFA should set a standard price for buyers (exporters) to comply. For example, lowest species before the ban was around K25 per kilo. This time around I would be expecting the price to double or triple. Some of the places like where I come from in (atoll islands), this is our main source of income and we do not want prices that can only afford us a packet of rice. We need better homes and other important things a family need. If prices remain low and another ban come into force, there will be absolutely nothing to show for, people will remain suffer.

  32. Gibson Vavine says

    Our fishermen sell their sea cucumbers for K30.00 per kilo..Can you direct us on where to sell our stock for the right price.

  33. Abraham Motowaya says

    Pls forward me further details to what’s being briefly outlined, ta

  34. Geoffrey Kara says

    I am a looking for potential buyer to export sea cucumber. Please, let me know of the price for various species.

    Kind regards

  35. Chris Ipien says

    I understand the ban on harvesting sea cucumber in PNG has now been lifted. Are there any addresses that I can make direct contact for information on current market price for local farmers and export. I’m also interested where the sea cucumbers from png will be exported to.

    Thank you

  36. Rod kairu says

    Can we encourage our local fishers to try sea ranching to conserve mature stock?
    Doing business while promoting conservation is a must. Am afraid if nothing is done now will lose most parent stock through uncontrolled harvesting thereby no opportunity for effective spawning/recruitment hence no seacumber for future benefit.
    Our people need support and guidance

  37. Nick.Kaidoga says

    I am going to produce sea cucumber at kaileuna island in Trobriand islands.
    Who will give me a good price to buy my product.?
    And please up date the places in PNG .also the prices for the sea cucumber per kilo.

  38. How can I get latest updates of who an attend courses and when to give correct infor to the village people who will interested in attending?

    Kind regards

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