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Commercial harvesting for food and fertiliser

Application Method:

Collection methods vary between taxa and can include mechanical harvesting machines, beam trawls, dredges, netting, trapping and diver collection. Commercial harvesting can greatly diminish populations eg. Perna canaliculus in New Zealand (Paul 1966; Jeffs et al. 1999) and Mercenaria mercenaria in England (Eno et al. 1997). Both Carcinus maenas and Eriocheir sinensis are commercially fished in their native ranges (Guo et al. 1997; Gomes 1991; Svane 1997). Seastars are occasionally fished for reduction to animal feed stocks and the curio trade, but reported world seastar fisheries catches are small and unreliable (Sloan 1985). Codium fragile ssp tomentosoides and C. f. ssp atlanticum are a food source in the Far East (Eno et al. 1997) and Undaria pinnatifida is commercially harvested as food (as the sea vegetable �Wakame�) (Hay and Luckens 1987, Boudouresque et al. 1996). Potamocorbula laevis, Corbicula fluminea and Musculista senhousia are commercially harvested for animal feed and fertiliser in China and Taiwan (Morton 1977; Carlton et al. 1990 and citations therein). Cyprinus carpio (Carp-Fert) and some macroalgae have been used to make fertiliser or as an ingredient of animal food) (Anon 1997; Critchley et al. 1986, Hay and Luckens 1987, Boudouresque et al. 1996). Eriocheir sinensis has been used as bait for eel fishing, to produce fish meal, cosmetic products and for human consumption (Gollasch 1999; and citations therein (in German)). Sabella spallanzanii is used as fish bait in Italy. However S. spallanzanii is undesirable to fish in Australia and should not be used (K. Gowlett-Holmes, CSIRO; pers. comm.). Bounties have been offered over the years to encourage collection of pest species including Carcinus maenas in Edgartown (Walton 1997), the American oyster drill Urosalpinx cinerea (Eno et al. 1997) and Asterias spp. (A. forbesi and A. vulgaris) in the USA in 1941 (Gibbs 1946; Sloan 1985 and citations therein).

Side Effects:

Dependent on collection method.

Application Rate:

Clearance rates and duration of fishing effort for traps or dredges is dependent on target species abundance.

Health and Safety Issues:

There are risks to human health from consumption of Eriocheir sinensis as the crabs are an intermediate host for the human lung fluke parasite in Asia) (Gollasch 1999; and citations therein (in German)). The toxic secondary metabolites in Caulerpa taxifolia and Codium fragile ssp. tomentosoides possibly prevent the use of these algae as animal fodder (Critchley et al. 1986, Hay and Luckens 1987, Boudouresque et al. 1996).

Constraints:

Developing a recreational or commercial fishery for populations of introduced species eg. Perna canaliculus, Carcinus maenas and Undaria pinnatifida is problematic as it is a response strategy not a control method. Creating a demand for an introduced species is more likely to encourage its presence in an area and even result in people attempting to establish populations elsewhere rather than cause its eradication (driven by profit seeking individuals). Attempts to market C. maenas caught in a trial fishery in the USA were unsuccessful, in the absence of a ready market. Recent trapping of the crab Eriocheir sinensis has not been effective in controlling damage by crabs in river banks or preventing crabs feeding on trapped fish or fish stocks in commercial pond aquaculture (Gollasch 1999; and citations therein (in German)). In addition, the New Zealand experience shows that intensive dredging of P. canaliculus beds on sand or mud in removes juveniles and shell matter leaving an unstable soft substrate no longer suitable for settlement and attachment of many sessile invertebrates (Stead 1971a, 1971b as cited in Jeffs et al. 1999). Environmental impacts of this type of control (eg. for Perna and Musculista on soft sediment) would be high. The success of commercial kelp harvesting devices to remove Undaria pinnatifida is doubtful because this annual kelp produces fertile sporophytes throughout the growth season instead of for a narrowly defined period as in other kelps. Mechanical harvest would likely lead to fragmentation of harvested sporophytes or to residual stipes with fertile sporophylls, both of which are likely to increase dispersal. In addition, commercial harvesting would not normally deplete a population below economically sustainable levels. When harvested for human food, in general only large thalli of healthy appearance are selected, other individuals are left in place (Floc'h et al. 1991).

Legal Issues:

Dredging is not permitted in Tasmanian waters without appropriate permits from the State Authorities under two State Government Acts.

Direct contact with the relevant Commonwealth and State Authorities is necessary to determine the legality of a control option in that State and to obtain permits for the use of chemicals (eg Fusilade herbicide) or to perform physically destructive actions in the aquatic environment (eg dredging in Tasmania). While chemicals are registered for use at the Commonwealth level (NRA, NICNAS), there may be restrictions or prohibitions on their use in some States, particularly in the aquatic environment. Searching the NRA database may give some indication of registered products but not application methods of use or restrictions on usage.

Notes:

Commercial harvest has often been proposed as a management option for introduced species but should not be set up in areas the introduced species are not yet found (eg. Critchley et al. 1986, Hay and Luckens 1987, Boudouresque et al. 1996). A commercial fishery could help reduce population numbers if a market could be found (and the risks involved in encouraging commercial exploitation of a pest species could be resolved.

Taxon Specifics

Asterias amurensis

Limited success. Seastars (Asterias amurensis) collected in mid-1993 were used for composting trials carried out by the Department of Agricultural Science at the University of Tasmania. Seastars could be made into satisfactory organic mulch suitable for application to agricultural soils. However, commercial exploitation of Asterias amurensis seems remote and despite the success of several small scale attempts to produce fertilisers there appears little interest in utilising this source (Line 1994).

Asterias forbesi

Limited success. The harvest of Asterias spp. (A. forbesi and A. vulgaris) in the USA, for feed stock or fertiliser was attempted in the 1940-60�s but found to be uneconomical due to high production costs, low product quality, irregularity of supply and low market demand. In Rhode Island Waters in 1941 a bounty rate of 75 cents per hundred pounds of seastars was offered to fishermen. In one month a total of 1,211,064 pound of were dredged up and the population was reduced in localised areas (Gibbs 1946; Sloan 1985 and citations therein). In addition seastars have been harvested as biological supply for biology teaching purposes throughout the USA. This unreported fishery is/was? certainly lucrative (Sloan 1985).

Asterias rubens

Limited success. The world seastar fisheries catches are small, unreliable and strongly dominated (up to 98% total catch) by the fishery for Asterias rubens in Denmark. The Danish Limfjorf beamtrawl fishery for Asterias rubens operates from November to April, ice permitting, but only when other more profitable fisheries are unavailable. Seastars are processed and exported to West Germany as an additive to finfish meal for poultry feed stocks; 1100 metric tons were harvested in 1982. It is unclear if the fishery still occurs (Sloan 1985).

Asterias vulgaris

Limited success. The harvest of Asterias spp. (A. forbesi and A. vulgaris) in the USA, for feed stock or fertiliser was attempted in the 1940-60�s but found to be uneconomical due to high production costs, low product quality, irregularity of supply and low market demand. In Rhode Island Waters in 1941 a bounty rate of 75 cents per hundred pounds of seastars was offered to fishermen. In one month a total of 1,211,064 pound of were dredged up and the population was reduced in localised areas (Gibbs 1946; Sloan 1985 and citations therein). In addition seastars have been harvested as biological supply for biology teaching purposes throughout the USA. This unreported fishery is/was? certainly lucrative (Sloan 1985).

Carcinus maenas

Limited success. In 1995 in Edgartown, USA a bounty was paid for green crabs as part of a response to the threat to commercial shellfish. Approximately 10 metric tons of crabs were trapped in the local salt ponds, which was presumed (but not proven) to improve survivorship of hatchery-reared scallops and hardshell clams (Walton 1997). In southern Europe there is a commercial fishery for Carcinus maenas, suggesting a market-driven harvesting scheme could be established that might reduce its impact in highly invaded areas (Thresher 1997). Up to 900 metric tons per year has been harvested from the fishery in France, Portugal and Spain and there is some evidence that the C. maenas population in Portugal declined due to overfishing (Gomes 1991; Svane 1997). Profitability could help mitigate the long-term, labour intensive components of a physical control program. Developing a market would also be necessary if a commercial fishery were to be developed in Australia.

Caulerpa taxifolia

Unsuccessful. The toxic secondary metabolites in Caulerpa taxifolia possibly prevent the use of these algae as animal fodder (Critchley et al. 1986, Hay and Luckens 1987, Boudouresque et al. 1996).

Codium fragile ssp atlanticum

Unsuccessful. Codium fragile ssp tomentosoides and C. f. ssp atlanticum are a food source in the Far East (Eno et al. 1997). The toxic secondary metabolites in Caulerpa taxifolia and Codium fragile ssp. tomentosoides possibly prevent the use of these algae as animal fodder (Critchley et al. 1986, Hay and Luckens 1987, Boudouresque et al. 1996).

Codium fragile ssp tomentosoides

Unsuccessful. Codium fragile ssp tomentosoides and C. f. ssp atlanticum are a food source in the Far East (Eno et al. 1997).

Corbicula fluminea

Unsuccessful. Freshwater. Corbicula fluminea is commercially harvested for poultry feed, shrimp feed and fertiliser in China and Taiwan (Morton 1977; Carlton et al. 1990 and citations therein). However the possibility of harvesting such species in their introduced range for a food source or fertiliser is unlikely to be economically viable or publicly acceptable given the impacts on native species caused by dredging.

Corbicula manilensis

Unsuccessful. Freshwater. Corbicula manilensis is commercially harvested for poultry feed, shrimp feed and fertiliser in China (Morton 1977). However the possibility of harvesting such species in their introduced range for a food source or fertiliser is unlikely to be economically viable or publicly acceptable given the impacts on native species caused by dredging.

Cyprinus carpio

Limited success. Freshwater. Anon (1997) describes an attempt by local businessmen to reduce carp (Cyprinus carpio) damage in the Murray-Darling catchment by making fertiliser out of the fish (Carp-Fert).

Eriocheir sinensis

Limited success. Brackish water. Crabs of the genus Eriocheir, especially Eriocheir sinensis are commercially important food sources and the subject of numerous biological studies in their native range of Asia (Guo et al. 1997). Eriocheir sinensis has been used as bait for eel fishing, to produce fish meal, cosmetic products and for human consumption (Gollasch 1999; and citations therein (in German)).

Mercenaria mercenaria

Limited success. The populations of the hard clam Mercenaria mercenaria introduced to England have been severely depleted by a commercial fishery (Eno et al. 1997).

Musculista senhousia

Limited success. Musculista senhousia is commercially harvested for poultry feed, shrimp feed and fertiliser in China and Taiwan (Morton 1977; Carlton et al. 1990 and citations therein). However the possibility of harvesting such species in their introduced range for a food source or fertiliser is unlikely to be economically viable or publicly acceptable given the impacts on native species caused by dredging.

Oreaster reticulatus

Limited success. Curio fisheries for seastars occur throughout the world and Oreaster reticulatus populations in the Caribbean have been devastated (Sloan 1985).

Perna canaliculus

Limited success. In many locations in New Zealand the harvesting of wild Perna canaliculus mussels by handpicking, snorkelling and grabs for domestic use and commercial markets has greatly diminished wild populations (Paul 1966; Jeffs et al. 1999). Commercial dredge fisheries for subtidal Perna canaliculus between 1927-1966 and 1962-1967 were closed to protect overexploited populations of the mussel in the Hauraki Gulf, Tasman Bay and Kenepuru Sound. Developing a recreational or commercial fishery for populations of fouling mussels could play a part in controlling mussels if introduced into Australia.

Potamocorbula laevis

Unsuccessful. Potamocorbula laevis is commercially harvested for poultry feed, shrimp feed and fertiliser in China and Taiwan (Morton 1977; Carlton et al. 1990 and citations therein). However the possibility of harvesting such species in their introduced range for a food source or fertiliser is unlikely to be economically viable or publicly acceptable given the impacts on native species caused by dredging.

Sabella spallanzanii

Not recommended. In some localities in Sardinia, Italy recreational fishermen regard S. spallanzanii (known as �Tremuligione amaro�) as a particularly suitable bait for catching large Sparidae. Apparently there is potential for a larger bait market for this species in Italy based on some preliminary tests conducted with amateur anglers in Italy (Gambi et al. 1994). The spread of S. spallanzanii in South Australia between West Lakes and Bakers Inlet, Port Adelaide and off the Adelaide metropolitan coast is attributed by some researchers to fishermen using them for bait and dumping excess overboard (K. Gowlett-Holmes, CSIRO; pers. comm.). Articles in the local newspaper (The Advertiser) by South Australian Museum/SARDI personnel, recommended that fishermen should not dump such worms used as bait while at their fishing locales. While suitable for bait in their native range, S. spallanzanii is unsuitable for bait in introduced habitats and its use should be discouraged.

Sargassum muticum

Unsuccessful. Commercial harvests of S. muticum have been attempted and used eg. as fertilisers (Belsher 1991), but no large scale operations are underway (Wallentinus 1999).

Undaria pinnatifida

Limited success. Undaria pinnatifida is commercially harvested as food (as the sea vegetable �Wakame�) in Japan, Korea (native), France (introduced) and trials are underway in Tasmania (introduced), Australia (Hay and Luckens 1987, Boudouresque et al. 1996). The success of commercial kelp harvesting devices to remove Undaria pinnatifida is doubtful because this annual kelp produces fertile sporophytes throughout the growth season instead of for a narrowly defined period as in other kelps. Mechanical harvest would likely lead to fragmentation of harvested sporophytes or to residual stipes with fertile sporophylls, both of which are likely to increase dispersal. In addition, commercial harvesting would not normally deplete a population below economically sustainable levels. When harvested for human food, in general only large thalli of healthy appearance are selected, other individuals are left in place. Undaria spread along the French coastline after it escaped cultivation attempts (Floc'h et al. 1991).

Urosalpinx cinerea

Unsuccessful. A bounty was also paid for bucket loads of the American oyster drill Urosalpinx cinerea collected from the Essex oyster beds in England sometime after its introduction in the early 1900�s (Eno et al. 1997).

Control References

Anon. (1997),  Profit in carp Fish Farming International 24(6):6.

Boudouresque, C.F., Gerbal, M., Knoepffler-Peguy, M. (1985),  L'algae japonnaise Undaria pinnatifida (Phaeophyceae, Laminariales) en Mediterranee Phycologia 24(3):364-366.

Carlton, J.T., Thompson, J.K., Schemel, L.E., Nichols, F.H. (1990),  Remarkable invasion of San Francisco Bay (California, USA) by the Asian clam Potamocorbula amurensis. I. Introduction and dispersal Marine Ecology Progress Series 66:81-95.

Critchley, A.T., Farnham, W.F., Morrell, S.L. (1986),  An account of the attempted control of an introduced marine alga, Sargassum muticum, in southern England Biology and Conservation 35:313-332.

Eno, C.N., Clark, R.A., Sanderson, W.G., (1997),  Non-native marine species in British waters: a review and directory Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), Peterborough .

Floc'h, J-Y., Pajot, R., Wallentinus, I. (1991),  The Japanese brown alga Undaria pinnatifida on the coast of France and its possible establishment in European waters J. Cons. Int. Explor. Mer. 47(3):379-390.

Gambi, M.C., Castelli, A., Giangrande, A., Lanera, P., Prevedelli, D., Zunarelli Vandini, R. (1994),  Polychaetes of commercial and applied interest in Italy: an overview  IN: Acetes de la 4eme Conference internationale des Polychetes/ Proceedings of the 4th international polychaete conference, (Dauvin, J-C., Laubier, L., Reish, D.J. eds) Memoires du Museum National d' Histoire Naturelle, 162 593-603.

Gibbs, H.N. (1946),  The control and utilization of starfish in Rhode Island waters Bulletin of the Bingham Oceanographic Collection 9(3):28-30.

Gollasch S., Minchin D., Rosenthal H. and Voigt M. (1999),  Exotics across the ocean: Case histories on introduced species Report prepared by members of the European Union concerted action on testing monitoring systems for risk assessment of harmful introductions by ships to European waters, Department of Fishery Biology, Institut for Marine Science, University of Kiel, Germany .

Gollasch, S. (1999),  Exotics across the ocean - Eriocheir sinensis (Milne-Edwards, 1854) (Brachyura, Decapoda)  IN: Case histories on introduced species: their general biology, distribution, range expansion and impact., (Gollasch, S., Minchin, D., Rosenthal, H. & Voigt, M. eds) Department of Fishery Biology, Institut for Marine Science, University of Kiel, Germany 55-60.

Gomes, V. (1991),  First results of tagging experiments on crab Carcinus maenas (L.) in Ria de Aveiro Lagoon, Portugal Cienc. Biol. Ecol. Syst. 11((1/2)):21-29.

Guo, J. Y., Ng, N. K., Dai, A. & Ng, P. K. L. (1997),  The taxonomy of three commercially important species of mitten crabs of the gunus Eriocheir de Haan, 1835 (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura: Grapsidae) The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 45(2):445-476.

Hay, C. H., Luckens, P. A. (1987),  The Asian kelp Undaria pinnatifida (Phaeophyta: Laminariales) found in a New Zealand harbour New Zealand Journal of Botany 25(2):329-332.

Jeffs, A.G., Holland, R.C., Hooker, S.H., Hayden, B.J. (1999),  Overview and bibliography on the greenshell mussel, Perna canaliculus, from New Zealand waters Journal of Shellfish Research 18(2):347-360.

Line, M.A. (1994),  Composting of seastar (Asterias amurensis) wastes Report to the National Seastar Task Force, 9pp.

Morton, B. (1977),  Freshwater fouling bivalves  IN: Proceedings of the First International Corbicula Symposium, held at Texas Christian University, Forth Worth, Texas, October 13-15, 1977, (Morton, B., Britton, J.C., Mattice, J.S., Murphy, C.E., Newland, L.W. eds) Texas Christian University, Texas, USA 1-14.

Paul, L.J. (1966),  Observations on past and present distributions of mollusc beds in Ohiwa Harbour, Bay of Plenty New Zealand Journal of Science 9:30-40.

Sloan, N.A. (1985),  Echinoderm fisheries of the world: a review  IN: Proceedings of the Fifth International Echinoderm Conference, Galway, 24-29 September 1984, (Keegan, B.F., O'Connor, B.D.S. eds) A.A.Balkema, Rotterdam 109-125.

Svane, I. (1997),  On the ecology of Carcinus maenas in European waters  IN: Proceedings of the First International Workshop on the Demography, Impacts and Management of Introduced Populations of the European crab, Carcinus maenas. 20-21 March 1997, CSIRO Marine Laboratories, Hobart, (Thresher, R.E. eds) Centre for Research on Introduced Marine Pests, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia 11 4-18.

Thresher, R.E. (1997),  Proceedings of the first international workshop on the demography, impacts and management of introduced populations of the European crab, Carcinus maenas CRIMP Technical Report Number 11, CSIRO Marine Research, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia 11 .

Walton, W.C. (1997),  Attempts at physical control of Carcinus maenas within coastal ponds of Martha's Vineyard, MA (northeastern coast of North America)  IN: Proceedings of the First International Workshop on the Demography, Impacts and Management of Introduced Populations of the European crab, Carcinus maenas. 20-21 March 1997, CSIRO Marine Laboratories, Hobart, (Thresher, R.E. eds) Centre for Research on Introduced Marine Pests Technical Report, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia 11 64-65.


Controls Last Modified: Wednesday, July 03, 2002

Please use the following citation for this material
McEnnulty, F.R., Jones, T.E. and Bax, N.J. (2001), The Wed-Based Rapid Response Toolbox. Web publication: <http://crimp.marine.csiro.au/NIMPIS/controls.htm>. Date of release: June 2001, Date of access: 13/06/2002


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