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Sea urchin (maturation)

Vue générale des installations d'affinage. (Ph. T. Miard)
Vue générale des installations d’affinage. (Ph. T. Miard)
Ulves ou laitues de mer - une nourriture algale pour les oursins. (Ph. T. Miard)
Ulves ou laitues de mer - une nourriture algale pour les oursins. (Ph. T. Miard)

The edible sea urchin, Paracentrotus lividus, is much prized from the gastronomic point of view. This ‘caviar of the sea’ is fished by regulated commercial fishing, practised by snorkel divers or scuba divers, depending on the maritime area.

The research programme, called Sea Urchins of the Sun (Oursins du Soleil), is the result of an initiative by a local fisherman, Franck Ravez. He noticed that the main difficulty in commercial sea urchin fishing was to respond to consumer demand, in other words to provide them with sea urchins well stocked with eggs.

For the Paul Ricard Oceanography Institute, the solution is to undertake a series of experiments with the aim of setting up in due course a maturation farm for the edible sea urchin, Paracentrotus lividus.
After a feasibility study and consultation of the available literature, an experiment facility for the maturation of sea urchins was built at the Institute’s Research Centre at Les Embiez.

It was necessary :
-  to determine what is the best method to process the water,
-  to validate the distribution method and quality of the food used,
-  to measure the state of waste discharge in order to develop a system which would best preserve the environment and which would be economically viable.

Scientific and technical
-  Local Sea Fishing and Sea Farming Committee.

-  Axis 4 of the European Fisheries Fund
-  Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Regional Council
-  Toulon Provence Méditerranée local authority

Fernandez C., Boudouresque C.F., 2000
Nutrition of the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus (Echinodermata : Echinoides) fed different artificial food. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser., (204) :131-141.

Frantzis A., Grémare A., 1992
Ingestion, absorption, and growth rates of Paracentrotus lividus (Echinodermata : Echinoidea) fed different macrophytes. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. (95) : 169-183.

Schlosser S., Lupatsch I., Lawrence J.M., Lawrence A.L., Shpigel M., 2005
Protein and energy digestibility and gonad development of the European sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus (Lamarck) fed algal and prepared diets during spring and fall. Aquaculture research (36) : 972-982.

Spirlet C., Grosjean P., Jeangoux M., 2000
Optimization of gonad growth by manipulation of temperature and photoperiod in cultivated sea urchins, Paracentrotus lividus (Lamarck) (Echinodermata). Aquaculture 185 : 85-99.

Shpigel M., McBride SC., Marciano S., Lupatsch I., 2004
The effect of photoperiod and temperature on the reproduction of European sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus. Aquaculture 232:343-355.

- Local Sea Fishing and Sea Farming Committee (Comité départemental des pêches maritimes et des élevages marins du Var).
- Axis 4 of the European Fisheries Fund (FEP)