Sponges are very primitive multicellular organisms that belong to phylum Porifera; they are sessile and live attached to different types of hard and soft substrates. Sponges have different shapes and colours and very varied sizes, from a few millimetres to more than 2 m in height. They inhabit mainly in the marine environment at different depths. This chapter describes the general biological characteristics of sponges, their properties, uses and applications. Moreover, this study discusses a commercial fishery analysis of this natural resource in Cuba during the period 1970–2017, as well as the different characteristics of their natural populations subjected to commercial extraction. The applied techniques for aquaculture, harvest and postharvest processing are reviewed, including those procedures adapted from other countries or locally developed by Cuban fishermen. Finally, this study examines the challenges and perspectives of this productive activity with a long-term eco-sustainable approach.
Part of the book: Invertebrates