2000 kg sea cucumber worth Rs 8 crore seized at Mandapam
Sea cucumber in India is treated as an endangered species listed under schedule I of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
Two tonnes of banned sea cucumber valued at around Rs 8 crore were seized from a boat off Vedalai South of Mandapam in Tamil Nadu by the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) team, official sources said.
Following a tip-off about illegal transhipment of the banned marine species early Sunday, the ICG team at Mandapam swung into action and tracked a boat involved in likely smuggling of sea cucumber, the Union Defence Ministry stated in a release.
ICG teams were deployed in Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay areas to effectively cordon the likely escape by sea route.
Subsequently, the boat was found anchored about 15 km off Vedalai South of Mandapam without its crew at 10.30 am on Sunday.The ICG Hovercraft H-183 recovered 200 gunny bags of sea cucumber weighing 2000 kg, the release stated.
The boat along with the seized sea cucumbers was brought to Mandapam near Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu and handed over to forest officials.
On investigation, it was revealed that the consignment was planned for transhipment across the International Maritime Boundary Line during dark hours.
Sea cucumbers are in high demand in China and Southeast Asia. It may be recalled that earlier in July, the Coast Guard team at Mandapam had seized about 1200 kg of sea cucumber and apprehended two personnel, the release stated.
Sea cucumber in India is treated as an endangered species listed under schedule I of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. It is primarily smuggled from Tamil Nadu to Sri Lanka in fishing vessels from Ramanathapuram and Tuticorin districts, the release added.