California Seacucumber

    California Seacucumber, Parastichopus californicus, is found from Baja Mexico to the Aleutian Islands. Over 300 Species of Sea Cucumbers are harvested throughout the globe. The two main fishing methods for P. californicus are trawl nets and SCUBA diving. Several color morphs exist for P. californicus and they are found at depths of 1ft (~30cm) to 350 ft (~106) in sandy to rocky habitats, where they feed on sediment algae. P. californicus fertilized eggs develop into a feeding larvae within 5 days. The larvae feed in the water column on algae for 15-100 days where, after, they will settle out onto the bottom as juveniles. Juvenile P. californicus feed on sediment algae growing ~1mm a month. They become reproductive at 4 years then spawn annually. Male and females release gametes directly in the water. Regional fisheries have peaked and then declined in recent years, raising serious concerns. However, Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery has successfully spawned P. californicus and scuba divers released them in south east Alaska.