United Nations
Expansion of sea cucumber grow-out operations to support coastal community livleihoods
by Marine Research Centre | Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture, Maldives (Government)
A couple of years since the start of the sea cucumber fishery in the Maldives in mid-1980s, the fishery experienced a drastic decline. A fishery that exclusively targeted high-valued sea cucumber species changed quickly to include mid- and lower-valued varieties. The export-oriented sea cucumber trade generates close to USD 1 million annually. The fishery is usually carried out as a small-scale operation in rural island communities.

The Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture, with assistance from the International Fund for Agricultural Development launched the Mariculture Enterprise Development Project in 2013, with the objective of developing mariculture as an income and employment opportunity for the rural islands, with emphasis on creating opportunities for women and youth. Sea cucumber grow out is being piloted in two island communities, providing beneficiaries small loans in the form of material and seed required to start grow-out operations, since October 2016. The project targets supplementing incomes of households through the sea cucumber grow-out operation.

The project collaborates with the only hatchery facility in operation in the Maldives for the provision of seed and training for the beneficiaries. The hatchery operation is committed to providing the pilot communities with seed required for future cycles.
Progress reports
By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism
Type of commitment
  • Economic benefits from sustainable aquaculture/mariculture
April 2017
Beneficiary selection and allocation of sea pens
March 2017
Construction of sea pens for sea cucumber grow-out
October 2017
Operation of 100 grow-out sea pens to produce market sized sea cucumbers
Financing (in USD)
7,500,000 USD
Staff / Technical expertise
In-kind contribution
Training of community groups in sea cucumber grow-out operations
Basic information
Time-frame: October 2016 - March 2018
Marine Research Centre, Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture, Maldives (Government Organisation) Mariculture Enterprise Development Programme, International Fund for Agriculture Development (United Nations Entity)
Ocean Basins
  • Indian Ocean
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Island communities
Contact information
Hussain Sinan , Permanent Secretary , ps@fishagri.gov.mv , +9603322625
Male, Maldives
Other SDGs
United Nations