Sea Cucumbers Working Overtime

Diagram of a test project in Italy in which sea cucumbers cleaned up excrement from farmed mussels. GROSSO ET AL.

A topic that rarely, if ever, has made our pages, the sea cucumber’s moment in the spotlight has arrived:

A sea cucumber near Mindoro Island in the Philippines. IMAGEBROKER / ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

Are Sea Cucumbers a Cleanup Solution to Fish Farm Pollution?

Seafood farm operators are breeding and deploying sea cucumbers to vacuum up the massive amounts of fish waste that pose a major problem for their industry. It is part of an effort to redesign fish farms with multiple species so that they work more like natural ecosystems.

Sea bass at a fish farm in the Adriatic Sea off the coast of Slovenia. WATERFRAME / ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

Off the coast of the Hawaiian Island of Kauai, an underwater metropolis bustles. Sea turtles glide lazily through the surf while schools of fluorescent yellow butterflyfish weave between basketball-size sea urchins and sharp corals.

But Dave Anderson isn’t distracted by the otherworldly charm of the coral reef — he’s here on a mission. Around 70 feet below the surface, he finds his prize: a red sea cucumber. Continue reading