13 Feb 2012

Growing pains for sea cucumber trial

7:38 am on 13 February 2012

A joint Maori-Chinese trial to grow sea cucumbers in New Zealand waters has suffered a setback.

The first experiment in Marlborough has ended with all the sea cucumbers dying.

The venture involves Yantai-based Oriental Oceans and two Maori businesses - the Whakatohea Maori Trust Board and Wakatu Incorporation.

Wakatu's chief executive Keith Palmer says the experiment is still on-track, and the deaths are part of learning.

He says the marine animals were put in a tank that wasn't properly cured.

Mr Palmer says it's a setback, but that's why research and development is done.

He says anyone who does a trial without some hiccups is very lucky.

Sea cucumber is revered by Chinese people for its medicinal properties, and is an expensive delicacy in China.