WWF report: Illegal trade endangers sea cucumbers off India

The illegal collection and trade of sea cucumbers in the sea around India is endangering their populations in the area, according to animal rights activists.

WWF report: Illegal trade endangers sea cucumbers off India

The illegal collection and trade of sea cucumbers in the sea around India is endangering their populations in the area, according to animal rights activists. The environmental foundation WWF and the organization Traffic, which monitors the trade in endangered animal and plant species, have now presented more precise data.

According to this, more than 100 tons of sea cucumbers and almost 7,000 sea cucumber individuals were seized in India from 2010 to 2021. The animals were found partly alive and partly dead, according to a report published by both organizations in the run-up to World Fisheries Day on Monday (November 21).

The elongated and slow-moving animals are lucrative for sellers because they are used in some Asian countries, for example for traditional medicine or as exclusive food. In 2021, for example, the Indian Ministry of Defense reported that the Coast Guard had seized two tons of sea cucumbers worth 80 million rupees (947,000 euros) on a boat. At the same time, however, sea cucumbers are also important to the marine ecosystem as they consume decaying organic matter and convert it into reusable nutrients for other marine life.

According to the report, collecting the animals is easy and further processing by drying is cheap. The animals are usually sold dried. It is said that the seized animals should be brought to Sri Lanka, China or Southeast Asian countries particularly often.

In India, the animals were officially traded for decades, which endangered their populations. Almost 20 years ago, however, the collection, trade and use of all around 200 sea cucumber species off the coast of India was banned.

Report and Notice Notice Department of Defense

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