Makassar Trepang
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Makassar Island


Makassar Trepang

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Sea Cucumber As Food

Sea cucumbers destined for food are traditionally harvested by hand on small watercraft; a process known as trepanging. It is dried for preservation purposes and has to be rehydrated by boiling and soaking in water for several days for the sea cucumber to absorb the liquid back. It is mainly used as an ingredient in soup or stew.

There are many of commercially important species of sea cucumber that are harvested and dried for export for use in Chinese cuisine as Hoi sam. Some of the more commonly found species in markets include:[1]

* Holothuria scabra
* Holothuria fuscogilva
* Actinopyga mauritiana
* Stichius japonicus
* Parastichopus californicus
* Thelenota ananas
* Acaudina molpadioides

Western Australia has sea cucumber fisheries from Exmouth to the border of the Northern Territory, almost all of the catch is sandfish (Holothuria scabra). The fishing of the various species known as Bêche-de-mer is regulated by state and federal legislation. Five other species are targeted in the state's Bêche-de-mer harvest, these are Holothuria noblis (white teatfish); Holothuria whitmaei (black teatfish); Thelenota ananas (prickly redfish); Actinopyga echninitis (deep-water redfish); and Holothuria atra (lolly fish).[2]

The largest American species is Holothuria floridana, which abounds just below low-water mark on the Florida reefs. There are plans to harvest this species for the sea cucumber market.

The trade in Trepang, between Macassans seafarers and the aborigines of Arnhem Land, to supply the markets of Southern China is the first recorded example of trade between the inhabitants of the Australian continent and their Asian neighbours

The Asian market for sea cucumber is estimated to be US$60 million. The dried form account for 95% of the sea cucumber traded annually in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, Korea, and Japan] and are typically used in Chinese cuisines. The biggest re-exporter in the trade is China, Hong Kong, and Singapore.[3] There are also 650 species of sea cucumbers, of which just 10 species have commercial value


by Kelvin Too - 06-04-2010

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