Part of: Prelims and GS III – Conservation
Context Recently, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has seized two tonnes of sea cucumber, a banned marine species, in the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay areas in Tamil Nadu.
What is Sea Cucumber?
- Sea cucumbers are marine invertebrates that live on the seafloor found generally in tropical regions.
- They’re named for their unusual oblong shape that resembles a fat cucumber.
- They are crucial to maintain the balance of ocean habitats.
- The main by-products of the sea cucumbers digestion of sand is calcium carbonate and this is essential for the survival of the coral reefs.
- They act like garbage collectors of the ocean world, and they recycle nutrients
- Threats: Illegal Trading and smuggling
- IUCN Red List: Brown Sea Cucumber (Endangered), Blackspotted Sea Cucumber (Least Concern), Blue Sea Cucumber (Data Deficient), etc.
- Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule I.
- Conservation Efforts: In 2020, the Lakshadweep Islands administration created the world’s first conservation area – 239 sq. km – for sea cucumbers