250 kg sea cucumbers seized

Two days after seizing a huge haul of 450 kg, the Marine police of the Tamil Nadu Coastal Security Group (CSG) seized 250 kg of sea cucumbers, the endangered species, protected under schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act on Tuesday.

A team, led by Sub-Inspector of Police Rajkumar and Special Sub-Inspector of Police Bose, was on routine patrolling on Tuesday morning, when it seized the endangered species, packed in cement bags and found abandoned on Thoppuvalasai seashore near Uchipuli.

Police suspected that those who had collected the species from fishermen and trying to transport them might have escaped on watching the movement of the marine police. The team handed over the species to the Mandapam Forest Range Office.

On being handed over, Forest Range Officer S. Sathish registered a case and launched an investigation to arrest the accused, who had collected the species on behalf of smugglers.

The seized sea cucumbers were presented before the District Munsiff cum Judicial Magistrate Court, Thiruvadanai, and they would be destroyed on Wednesday after getting court order, he said.

Stating that a section of fishermen were engaged in the fishing of sea cucumbers, he warned stern action would be taken against such fishermen if they failed to stop the illegal practice. Fishermen who catch the species inadvertently, while fishing, should release them back into the sea, he said.

The fishermen should realise that sea cucumbers, which habitat on seabed, helped to preserve marine resources.

After buying sea cucumbers in bulk from fishermen, the smugglers processed them by boiling and drying before smuggling them to countries such as Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, either through Sri Lanka or directly, police said. The species commanded good demand in those countries as people consumed them for the medicinal values, police said.

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