Sea cucumber fishing is such a widespread activity throughout the Indo- Pacific Sea that natural populations are endangered. In 1999, a sea cucumber mariculture project was launched in Madagascar in an attempt to solve this problem. The work was funded by the Belgian University Commission for Development (CUD) and the Malagasy government. The objective of the project was the building of a hatchery and farm for the breeding of sea cucumbers. It involved the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), the University of Mons (UMONS) and the local Malagasy University of Toliara, all of whom are partners in this project. The first commercial company of the Western Indian Ocean based on sea cucumber aquaculture was thus created. Shareholders of this Belgian-Malagasy university spin-off company include IMBC Spinnova, ULB, the Institute of Marine Science and Fisheries of Toliara as well as two private Malagasy companies.