|Scientific Name:||Astichopus multifidus|
|Species Authority:||(Sluiter, 1910)|
|Taxonomic Notes:||Astichopus multifidus may also be known as Stichopus multifidus.|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Least Concern ver 3.1|
|Assessor(s):||Toral-Granda, T.-G., Alvarado, J.J., Benavides, M., Paola Ortiz, E., Hamel, J.-F. & Mercier, A.|
|Reviewer(s):||Elfes, C., Tognelli, M. & Knapp, L.|
This species has a wide distribution and has been important in fisheries in Panama, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. In Panama, Costa Rica, and Venezuela, all sea cucumber fishing activities are banned. However, illegal fishing may occur in Panama. There is no fishing information from other parts of its range and no evidence that it is fished. It is therefore listed as Least Concern.
|Range Description:||This Caribbean species occurs from the southeastern U.S. and the Gulf of Mexico, south to Colombia and Venezuela, and east to Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Panama and Bahamas. It is found at depths between 1-37m (Miller and Pawson 1984).|
Native:Aruba; Bahamas; Belize; Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba; Colombia; Costa Rica; Cuba; Curaçao; Dominican Republic; Guatemala; Haiti; Honduras; Jamaica; Mexico; Netherlands Antilles (Bonaire); Nicaragua; Panama; Puerto Rico; Trinidad and Tobago; Turks and Caicos Islands; United States; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
|FAO Marine Fishing Areas:||
Atlantic – western central
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
The average density reported for this species in Bocas del Toro, Panama (4.9 individuals per ha) may indicate current critical overfishing levels. The estimated size of the total population in that area was 231,000 individuals (Guzman and Guevara 2002). This species was absent in 95% of protected areas around Cayos Zapatillas in Panama (Guzman and Guevara 2002).
Along the eastern and central Yucatan coast (Mexico) a density of 5.92 individuals per ha was found in the east and 32.18 individuals per ha in the central coast. The total biomass was estimated at approximately 16,000 tonnes for an area of approximately 1.2 million hectares (Moguel et al. 2003).
|Habitat and Ecology:||
This species prefers soft bottoms with muddy or sandy patches, in and around Thalassia seagrass beds (Miller and Pawson 1984, Toral-Granda 2008). It is also found in areas of calcareous algae (Miller and Pawson 1984), and prefers deeper, calmer reef environments (Hendler et al. 1995).
|Use and Trade:||This species is one of the most important commercial species in the Caribbean, with fishing activties in Panama (Toral-Granda 2008), and Jamaica. It is of potential commercial interest in Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (Bruckner 2006).|
Although not one of the most valuable species for fishery purposes, it can be expected that this species may become more popular after the depletion or reduction of other species of higher commercial importance and value. It can be considered an emerging commercial species, because higher value Indo-Pacific species are becoming scarce.
A stock assessment of this species conducted by Guzman and Guevara (2002) suggests that if the fishing pressure from 1997 is maintained, the population of this species in Boca del Toro, Panama would collapse in nine days.
In Panama, Costa Rica, and Venezuela, all sea cucumber fishing activities are banned (Toral-Granda 2008). Illegal fishing may occur in Panama (J. Alvarado pers. comm. 2010). The fishery for this species in Nicaragua is unregulated. The distribution of this species overlaps with some protected areas.
|Citation:||Toral-Granda, T.-G., Alvarado, J.J., Benavides, M., Paola Ortiz, E., Hamel, J.-F. & Mercier, A. 2013. Astichopus multifidus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 31 July 2014.|
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