Research Article

Assessment of Processing Methods for Sandfish (Holothuria scabra) in Pangasinan, Palawan, and Davao, Philippines

Rosa A. Bassig*, Adoracion V. Obinque, Vivian T. Nebres, Virginia H. Delos Santos, Rosario J. Ragaza,
Charlotte Ann M. Ramos, Ariel Joshua J. Madrid, Ulysses M. Montojo


The Philippine beche-de-mer is reported to get the lowest prices compared to Indo-Pacific Islands competitors, mainly due to small sizes, inferior end-product quality, and use of low-value species. With this, the traditional methods of processing sandfish (Holothuria scabra), a high-value sea cucumber species, were assessed through survey questionnaires (n > 30) and documentation. The identified study sites were coastal areas where sandfish production and processing are abundant, namely: Anda and Bolinao, Pangasinan; Palawan; and Davao and Compostela Valley. Processing sea cucumbers into beche-de-mer involves the primary steps of cleaning, boiling, and smoke or sun-drying. Variations were observed in the order and number of doing each primary step, as well as in the specific manner of cleaning (slitting, gutting, brushing), boiling, and smoke or sun-drying. Quality evaluation of the products from these different processing methods is recommended to theorize how to improve the overall status of Philippine beche-de-mer, as well as the updating of these findings.

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Keywords: sea cucumber, beche-de-mer, trepang, balat/balatan, traditional processing

*Corresponding Author:

Fisheries Postharvest Research and Development Division,
National Fisheries Research and Development Institute. Quezon City, Philippines