Fla. Wildlife Officials Limit Sea Cucumber Harvests

Copyright | Catlin Seaview Survey/Underwater Earth
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Associated Press News Release

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida wildlife officials have voted to limit how many sea cucumbers can be harvested in both state and federal waters.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted Wednesday to limit the number of sea cucumbers collected to 200 per boat per trip. The limits take effect June 1

The Tampa Bay Times (http://bit.ly/Qq167s) reports the decision was criticized by the owner of the only sea cucumber processing plant on the American east coast, who said it would force him to shut down.

The sea cucumber, a long and lumpy invertebrate, is extremely popular in Asian countries, particularly China, where it is used to treat joint pain and as an aphrodisiac. The demand is so heavy that worldwide 20 percent of sea cucumber fisheries have been fully depleted.


Information from: Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Fla.), http://www.tampabay.com.

Associated Press News Release

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) -- State wildlife officials are considering tighter restrictions for harvests of sea cucumbers.

The marine invertebrates are common in the waters off the Florida Keys. They're a delicacy in Asia, and as that market grows, officials say tighter harvest limits may be needed.

Currently there is no limit on sea cucumber harvests for commercial fishermen. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will vote Wednesday on a proposal to limit the daily commercial harvest of sea cucumbers to 200 per vessel per day.

The owner of Florida Sea Cucumber Corp. on Ramrod Key tells The Key West Citizen (http://bit.ly/1fWtbdw ) that a daily limit of 200 would barely cover fishermen's fuel bills and other costs. Erik Lee says the limit should be in the 500 to 800 range.


Information from: The Key West (Fla.) Citizen, http://www.keysnews.com

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