Sea Egg Resting in the Ocean, Barbados Pocket Guide

Sea Eggs

Sea Eggs (Tripneustes ventricosus) is a species of sea urchin that are quite common on the island of Barbados. They can be found at depths of six meters (20ft) in seagrass beds and shallow reefs which they use as camouflage.



Sea Eggs are usually dark in colour or reddish brown with white spines that measure 1 to 2 cm in length. These white, edible Sea Urchins have the ability to reach a diameter of approximately 10 to 15 centimetres.


Their spines are normally 2cm (1") in length but when threatened, they can reach 10-15 cm (4 - 6") in length.


Fishery Boundaries and Decline

In Barbados, in an effort to prevent any future decline in the Sea Egg population, a ban has been implemented that only allows for harvesting to be done throughout the months of September through to December only. However, some local fishermen will openly admit that they have been guilty of fishing for this delicacy in the closed season.


Intense fishing of Sea Eggs here in Barbados take place in September and October with November and December seeing a decline in See Egg fishing. A further decline is seen in mainly December as this is the time that the focus turns to flying fish.


In recent years there has been, what can easily be described as a calamitous decline in See Eggs in Barbados. According to fishermen on the island, this decline occurred sometime between the middle 1970s and early 1980s. There is a belief that the chain reaction of various forms of pollution that in turn caused a reduction in algae was much to blame for this decline.


Another belief is that coastline erosion has been responsible for such a decline in Sea Eggs in Barbados. Migration and disease have also been mentioned as possible causes for decline as well.


Preparation Process

Contained within its spined shell are golden roes which have truly become a delicacy in Barbados.


Divers collect Sea Eggs that are picked from the oceans' floors and when they are brought up, the process of preparation begins.


The shells are broken and the roes are washed and removed. The Sea Eggs are then steamed and enjoyed. Some people in Barbados prefer to eat Sea Eggs raw.


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