Galapagos and the shocking trade in Sea Cucumbers

Everyone must make a living, but when it could result in the destruction of a unique ecosystem for the world, there are limits. Many people haven’t even heard of sea cucumbers; they are echinoderms related to sea urchins and starfish and have the appearance of a large cucumber, slowly moving over the seabed and rocks, sucking up organic matter like a vacuum cleaner and cleaning all the surfaces of wast
The fishery for sea cucumbers is open for 2 months every year in Galapagos, with 1 kg of the animal selling for up to 2,000 USD to China. Because of the huge amount of money involved in the trade, fishing continues, despite protests from marine biologists. There used to be 170 sea cucumbers per 100 m2, but now there are less than 7, and the population is on the brink of extinction.

The sea cumbers keep the rocks clean, removing sand and detritus, which allows macroalgae, bivalve molluscs, barnacles, and coral to become established. Without the rock ecology, there will be no marine iguanas, sea turtles, seals, or fish. A unique ecosystem is being destroyed, and the loss to the economy from ecotourism will be millions of times greater than the value of the sea cumbers.

Sea cucumber soup, along with shark fin soup, is killing the oceans and the planet’s life support system. I wonder what Charles Darwin would think.
Bioclimatic climate change.

Leave a Reply