Students released sandfishes in habitat

On Feb. 27 2021, the Bureau of Marine Resources (BMR) and Ebiil Society released 3000 juvenile sandfish (Molech) into the wild! This all part of Ebiil Society and BMR community-based approach to marine habitat restoration. The releasing activity took place in Ollei, Ngarchelong with youth volunteers. The team designed a strategy with students as part of Ebiil environmental studies program, providing knowledge of habitats, biodiversity, management and protection.
Sandfish is a highly targeted sea cucumber species in both local and international seafood trade. Current studies show a 90% in decline as a result of a long history of species overexploitation (Ebiil and Ferguson unpublished data). In response, BMR and Ebiil Society join the partnership to explore hatchery spawning and production as a way to restore the wild population. Sea cucumber species targeted in this project include sandfish (Molech), hairy blackfish (Cherembrum), and curryfish (Ngimes).
Other than being food resources, sea cucumber plays an important role in habitat as a cleaner, ensuring basic productivity (Bioremediation) to other marine animals such as algae, fish larvae, crustacean and other invertebrates. Sea cucumber is also suitable for developing sea ranching aquaculture without much labor and costs. The successful implementation of this project increases Palau’s food security and the sustainability of Palau’s fishery as we merge science, traditional knowledge, and local community support.

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