Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


College of Science and Mathematics



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Colette J. Feehan

Committee Member

Cortni Borgerson

Committee Member

Julian Paul Keenan


Overexploitation of fisheries is a challenge to both marine conservation and human welfare. The trade of sea cucumbers is a multi-billion-dollar market, spanning over 70 countries. Global concern over unsustainable sea cucumber trade led to the inclusion of three species in CITES Appendix II, two of which are found in Madagascar (Holothuria fuscogilva and H. nobilis). I used 792 structured interviews (2015–2020) to study the intensity of sea cucumber collection and exportation in rural northeastern Madagascar, where 30% of all (terrestrial and aquatic) native species are threatened with extinction. Wild sea cucumber collection was common and increased tenfold during the study; one in five coastal households caught and sold wild sea cucumbers, of which more than half are threatened species, including CITES II restricted H. nobilis (Endangered) and H. fuscogilva (Vulnerable). Sea cucumber collectors were significantly wealthier and more food secure than other community members. Given both the high collection of threatened and regulated species and high regional food insecurity (58% of households), regulation of threatened species alone may not reduce levels of unsustainable catch.

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