sea cucumber tagged posts

Sea-cucumber divers off Liberia risk danger to feed a hunger in China

Abdoulaye Mansaray learnt about the business while processing sea cucumbers in Sierra Leone

In late 2019, Wilson Nimley, a field officer from the Liberian fisheries authority, stumbled across a group of strangers living in one of the remote coastal communities under his watch. They turned out to be divers from Sierra Leone, on a mission prospecting for sea cucumbers. These slimy, sausage-shaped members of the starfish family have no local market but are a valuable commodity in China as both a culinary delicacy and a medicinal ingredient. 

Entering mainland China from around the world via Hong Kong, some varieties can fetch up to $6,000 (£4,300) per kilogram.

Man wearing breathing equipment
Aliou Ba, or “Ali Diver”, tests out the breathing equipment before the hunt for sea cucumbers begins

Neither Mr Nimley nor his superiors knew anything about the existence of these valuable creatures in Liberian wa...

Read More

Spooning poo to save Queensland reef

“In the wee hours of the morning … we weren’t too excited to be spooning poo,” reef ecologist Dr Vincent Raulot says. But that’s exactly what he and a team of researchers did to calculate out how much poop was excreted by an estimated 3 million sea cucumbers on the 20 sq km Heron Island coral reef in Queensland. The answer? Some 64,000 metric tonnes a year – slightly more than the mass of five Eiffel Towers.

Vincent, from the University of Newcastle in New South Wales, has been studying the “burnt-sausage-looking animals” – that in other parts of the world are being fished to towards extinction – to better understand the vital role they play in the health of coral reefs.

“Sea cucumbers are not a charismatic animal,” he told Guardian Australia...

Read More

Indian coast guard thwarts sea cucumber smugglers in Sri Lanka

Sea Cucumber Pirates caught in the open sea

In a coordinated mission that involved air and sea-based assets, the Indian Coast Guard apprehended a fishing boat that was attempting to smuggle sea cucumber, an endangered species, into Sri Lanka.

The apprehended fishing boat was carrying 1 ton of sea cucumbers, which are valued at about $683,000 USD. The fishing boat along with three crew members have been brought to Tuticorin for further investigation. 

The interception of the boat had taken place on Saturday noon and the boat was just about 3.5 miles from the International Maritime Boundary line. The boat was intercepted off the Mandapam coast. The north western tip of the Sri Lanka is easily accessible(in terms of distance) from the areas surrounding Mandapam town in Tamil Nadu...

Read More