Sea cucumbers to become a new Portuguese delicacy?

Sea cucumbers to become a new Portuguese delicacy?

University || Could sea cucumbers join Portugal’s valuable list of exports? Yes, says University of the Algarve researcher Mercedes Wanguemert, leading the team at Centro das Ciências do Mar (CCMAR) that has just found a unique way to farm this little-known species of marine animal.
“We are the first team in Europe to get sea cucumbers to reproduce in aquaculture,” she told Lusa news agency.
Stressing that sea cucumbers are “very commonly” found in the Algarve’s sea bed, Wanguemert believes the little creatures could market for high prices abroad.
“Although they are not commonly eaten in Portugal, dried sea cucumbers sell for €150-€200 per kilo in Asian countries and the US,” she said.
And although most commonly bred during the summer, the team has registered cases of sea cucumber reproduction in May, meaning they could be produced for at least six months of each year.
But before the plan can go any further, Wanguemert says more time to study and develop the new technique is needed – and, as always, funding is a major issue.
Thus Minister of Agriculture and Sea Assunção Cristas has been on an investment hunt around the world to raise foreign interest in fish farms and, more controversially, gas and oil exploration.
If “private investment” were to come along, Wanguemert agreed her team would jump at the chance.
For now, the initiative’s little sea critters are growing contentedly in a tank at CCMAR’s facilities before being moved to Ria Formosa for the next stage.