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BBC News: The Madagascar Farmers Trying to Save Sea Cucumbers

BBC News: The Madagascar Farmers Trying to Save Sea Cucumbers

Tommy Trenchard, an award-winning British photojournalist, visited Tampolove, Madagascar, in 2018 to document the work of the local sea cucumber farmers.

In much of the Far East, sea cucumbers are a delicacy, fetching a high price for their purported health benefits. In Tampolove, a tiny windswept village of huts and sandy paths squeezed between the coast and the forest in south-west Madagascar, they have provided a major boost to the local economy and environment.

He witnessed the restocking of farmers’ pens, and a successful harvest – and has now created this stunning photo essay, featured on the BBC News website. Tommy describes the need for sea cucumber aquaculture in this isolated region, both in terms of providing an alternative livelihood for marginalised coastal people as well as a sustainable source of sea cucumbers for the international market.

The community of Tampolove, in collaboration with Blue Ventures and our commercial partner Indian Ocean Trepang (IOT), have been developing sea cucumber farms over the last ten years. By stocking the pens with juveniles produced by IOT, farmers raise the sea cucumbers for ten months before selling them back at nearly ten times what they were bought for.

Learn more about this pioneering work in the recent video by The Economist: How sea cucumbers can help the ocean

With special thanks to our aquaculture project partner Norges Vel, our commercial partner Indian Ocean Trepang, and the Government of Madagascar.


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