Papua New Guinea (PNG) has a long history of involvement in the sea cucumber fishery and beche-de-mer trade.
During the late-1800s, the beche-de-mer trade was considered the ‘gold of the sea’. Average production for British
New Guinea was 37.1 tonnes between 1878 and 1900, with a peak export of 96.8 tonnes in 1883. Beche-de-mer was
the fifth most important export product for British New Guinea in 1903 with 83 tonnes. From 1900 to 1937, the Territory of Papua exported an average of 60 tonnes per annum, while the Mandated Territory of New Guinea
exported an average of 98 tonnes per annum. White teatfish and black teatfish were the two main species targeted
throughout this early period. Between 1960 and 1985, beche-de-mer production in PNG was relatively low with an
average annual production of 20 tonnes. Annual production increased significantly in 1986 to around 100 tonnes.
Between 2000 and 2009, annual production averaged 556 tonnes per annum with an average value of K 30 million per
year. Annual production peaked in 2007, when 795 tonnes of beche-de-mer valued at 52 million kina was exported.
The Total Allowable Catch for the whole country at this time was set at 668 tonnes.

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