Toxins of cone snails (conotoxins) are an important source of pharmaceuticals for treating human health. Development of a sustainable use plan for this resource is hence key. However, a few of the 931 species of cone snails have been studied in detail and only a small fraction of conotoxin diversity has been characterized.
This project is the first attempt to develop a model of sustainable use of cone snails. It will specifically focus on species present in French Polynesia where 114 cone snails occur, including 20 species that are endemic (1/8 of the world diversity). The work will entail three axes : 1) improvement of our knowledge of cone snails (taxonomy, population sizes, abundance, reproduction, life cycle, habitat, and diet) to constitute a reference collection; 2) establishment of a cone snail venom bank that will enable future sustainable use of conotoxins through non-destructive processes and socio-ecological regulation of cone species by stakeholders. This regulation may lead to the establishment of protected areas with harvest quotas according to predefined socio-ecological criteria or to aquaculture; 3) development and implementation of a regulatory mechanism that takes into account local, domestic, scientific and industrial knowledge and provides for the sharing of benefits resulting from access to these genetic and biological resources. The consortium has the capacity to pave the way for an adaptive cone management.
These axes combine several international research teams that are among the most renowned in their field of expertise: anthropologists, political scientists and lawyers specializing in access and benefit sharing (ABS) and socio-ecosystems, ecologists and taxonomists specializing in coral reefs and cones, and biologists specializing in the sustainable extraction of conotoxins. This project also involves government agencies in charge of fisheries, the environment, ABS; local and international partners in the field of ABS and sustainable uses of the ocean; and private companies that can facilitate establishment of a venom bank.
Tamatoa Bambridge, National Center for Scientific Research (France), France
Ponsonnet Cédric, Direction des ressources marines et minières, French Polynesia
Jeffrey Dambacher, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia
Thomas Franklin DUDA, University of Michigan, United States
Sébastien Dutertre, National Center for Scientific Research (France), France
David LECCHINI, National Center for Scientific Research (France), France
Alexander Mawyer, University of Hawaii at Manoa, United States
Camille Mazé, National Center for Scientific Research (France), France
Serge Planes, National Center for Scientific Research (France), France
Elspeth Probyn, The University of Sydney, Australia
Nicolas Puillandre, Museum national d'Histoire naturelle, France
Bernard SALVAT, National Center for Scientific Research (France), France
Gerard SIU, Maritime Cluster of French Polynesia, French Polynesia
Oceans and Atmosphere, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia
National Research Agency, France
National Science Foundation, United States