The sky-high demand for sea cucumbers has driven the harmful and illegal practice of poaching throughout the world.
“The nutrient hubs sea cucumbers are a rich source of protein and multifaceted organic compounds. They are the historical natural game players as they have always been busy cleansing the ocean bed from the species” as per The Marine Biologist Zidane of at the National Fisheries Research Center.
With the leftover foods, the beings live their lives breathing in the salty ocean water and breathing out the clear liquids and residue.
While in the number of regions their extinction has resulted in mudded and contaminated coastal waters.
Across the coral reef habitats, where the outturn of ocean acidity they cushion the consequences.
For their disappearance has led to disastrous peroxiding trials a grave threat
Back in the year 2010 threatened by the rapidly deteriorating Morocco’s stock the fishing ministry restricted all the trade of sea cucumber in place of the step up efforts to halt the illegal business practices; however, the poaching continued.
Though Morocco was the largest supplier of sea cucumbers until the states bold steps.
Red seaweed locally known as the red gold and less known as the sea cucumber is soaring in demand among the sea cucumber buyers in Singapore and used to manufacture Agar- a jelly-like substance helps for growing laboratory cultures and several consumer products.
The strange world beneath the deep waters
Wading in the shallow waters, picking up the seaweed thick and dead akin to a sausage lays the highly profitable illegal catch the sea cucumbers have some 1700 sort of species worldwide including the urchins, sea stars and echinoderms.
Among which a few species hold sensory organs; while none have a central system, scarcely the tumors of nerves for controlling movements.
Principally the inactive creatures are easy to catch specifically in the less deep waters which leads to the vulnerabilities for overfishing the illegal trade market
“It was hard to believe that these strange creatures are alive”. Gerald Durrell, the Nature specialist, recalls his first encounter to sea cucumbers
“I had a consideration that they might be the unusual dead strands similar to ocean bed weeds now carried to the coast by the tides while rolling and rippling powerless”
Some creatures crawl near the tube-shaped bases, others bury themselves in the ocean floor akin to worms.
A majority of them possess the ability to loosen their forms facilitating themselves to pass through tightened spaces. While sensing danger the sea cucumber eject parts of their gut to scare and defend themselves against crabs and fishes as predators.
Before having their internal organs grow they can be taken advantage to be used in the regenerative medicines studies revealed by Scientists Shedding them from their habitats limits the opportunities to study any further, similar to deforestation of rainforests extinguishes relative medicinal plants
On an average 80 sea cucumbers are edible among which the most preferred are from the tropical region, usually in the vicinity of underprivileged populations.
With demands sky high in the Asian area, the stocks are deteriorated in a one-third of more than 80 countries counted as a source.
“The top endangered species are the 16 in number, and also include the ones with the highest of commercial value. While the other seven are highly endangered and five explored in Morocco, three are the source of food and poached by divers more often” Says Zidane
Provided in the black market the sea cucumber divers work neglecting the importance of proper gear, risking severe injuries and fatalities in some cases.
For those who disregard the need for adequate equipment and guidance the hunt can be death causing
Irrespective of the years a divers hunt for the sea cucumber many of them haven’t even tried them. The animals are not just food its gold. Well a handful of fishers have been educated to prepare them from the sea cucumber buyers in Singapore and regions of Asia
Treasures of health from the sea
Packaged in the dried forms in baroque containers the sea cucumbers are food for high-status people in Chinese cuisine, served only on special occasions and to honor special guests.
They are well preferred not only in the regions of China but also Vietnam, the United States, and Singapore
In the areas of China, the sea cucumber is observed at the biggest seafood markets and traded through online means as a cuisine of luxury and hub of medicinal properties.
In the 1300s since the Ming dynasty the soft-bodied, smallest as less an inch and largest to 3 feet shaded from dull brown to striking red these creatures have depicted as a role player in Chinese history
As “Haishen” or treasures from the sea, the very first they were revealed as medicinal their very form was considered to infuse in them with potencies that can fight fatigue and ineffectiveness.
Far along they came to be realized as one of the first sea treasure of southern China cuisine, side by side the shark fin, swim bladders of Totoaba and Abalone.
A soup of all the four treasures is well accredited as the Buddha jumps over the wall and costs more than 500 dollar bill per serving
The historic Barter tool
By the late 1700s when the European nation came in search of silk, tea and porcelain from China and the Chinese have less interest in the objects of exchange the sea cucumbers were standardized as the bartering tool for the foreign businesses.
The traders from Europe started buying them from southern East Asia and Pacific regions and many other objects favorite in China as birds’ nest, pearls, and seaweeds
The bottom line
The global markets translate the furthest sources of supply with urban areas of demand” Eriksson scientist at The World Fish Institute Malaysia.
Manipulation spreads like fire across the globe in these innovative sourcing networks that game keeping takes place before the perception of resources that are threatened.
The swiftness and the global connectivity of the international trade networks, never-ending position threat throughout the world.
The warning can be taken with the new term for the whole occurrence “contagious exploitation.”