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Significant rise in trafficking of Sea cucumbers

Published: 22nd Sep, 2022


A new analysis by the Wildlife Conservation Society-India (WCS-India) has shown that Sea cucumbers were the most frequently trafficked marine species in India between 2015 and 2021.


6 What are Sea Cucumbers?

  • Sea cucumbers are an important constituent of the marine ecosystem as they play an important role in maintaining the health of the ecosystem.
  • In India, sea cucumber is treated as an endangered species listed under schedule 1 of Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.


  • It is consumed as food and used in medicine.
  • Illegal harvesting and overexploitation of these animals leads to poorer sediment health, reduces nutrient recycling and impacts biodiversity.  

Significance of the species

  • Enhancing life:By excreting inorganic nitrogen and phosphorus, they enhance the productivity of benthic animals - those living on the ocean floor.   
  • Preserving corals:One of the by-products of the sea cucumber's digestion of sand is calcium carbonate, a key component of coral reef, thus, sea cucumbers play a vital role in their preservation.  
  • Cleaning: They maintain the transparency of seawater by eating sewage. Feeding and excretion by them also increases alkalinity, which counteracts ocean acidification.   

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