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Processing and marketing of holothurians in the Toliara region, southwestern Madagascar
Lavitra, T.; Rachelle, D.; Rasolofonirina, R.; Jangoux, M.; Eeckhaut, I. (2008). Processing and marketing of holothurians in the Toliara region, southwestern Madagascar. SPC Beche-de-mer Information Bulletin 28: 24-33
In: SPC Beche-de-mer Information Bulletin. Secretariat of the Pacific Community: Noumea. ISSN 1095-4943
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Lavitra, T.
  • Rachelle, D.
  • Rasolofonirina, R.
  • Jangoux, M.
  • Eeckhaut, I.

Abstract
    In Madagascar, sea cucumbers are processed into dried product (trepang) before being exported. Careful processing is necessary in order to yield high quality trepang (e.g. aspect, form, consistence, smell). Nowadays, processing is carried out mainly by collectors whose methods depend on the exporter’s demand. Processing methods, especially for Holothuria scabra (sandfish), have continued to evolve over the last decade.Investigations in several villages have been made to determine the different processing methods used in the Toliara region. For H. scabra, the traditional method of burying sea cucumbers in sand to remove the chalky spicules from their body wall is becoming rare. Collectors scrape the animals using stones or bivalve shells or they use ground papaya leaves. All processing steps end with cooking the sea cucumbers in brine, then rinsing them and finally sun drying. Experiments carried out on H. scabra by the aquaculture company, Madagascar Holothurie SA, demonstrate that, whatever the initial size of individuals, there is a 91% reduction in weight and 52 % reduction in length after processing.In Toliara, five categories of stakeholders form the commercial chain: fishers, middlemen, collectors, operators and exporters. In general, fishers sell their fresh products directly to collectors who are the main holothurians processors, and who sell their products, most often semidried, to exporters. Exporters process sea cucumbers into trepang for Asian markets. Prices rely on species type and specimen size. Other criteria such as appearance, smell, mould, and water content are also often take into account. For H. scabra, properly processed trepang of the 1st category presently sells for between USD 33 kg-1 and 50 kg-1 to exporters.

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