Sandfish (Holothuria scabra) is an economically important sea cucumber that has been over-exploited along its distribution range in the Western Indian Ocean regions including Tanzania. Due to the significant population decline the species is included in the IUCN Red List of Endangered species. This has raised interest in improving its management. The government of Tanzania has been making efforts to improve management of the fishery to allow the recovery of the stock through a national fishery ban and increasing the number of Marine Protected Areas, but the progress is hampered by the lack of data on the genetic stock structures and the patterns of genetic connectivity between spawning and fishing grounds.
The project aims at improving management of the Sand fish fishery and to allow the recovery of the stock through a national fishery ban and increasing the number of Marine Protected Areas. Project applying microsatellite markers to reveal the appropriate management units for the sandfish H. Scabra along the Tanzanian coast. When the project resulted in policy briefs, management recommendations, and reports on the stock structure, the priority areas for MPAs, and the critical areas for strengthened management, increased awareness of the stakeholders regarding the patterns of gene flow and the priority areas for MPAs.