Sea Cucumbers seem to be a hot commodity in illegal international trade. Antonio Peñas Zuñiga, an official of INCOPESCA, was in Samara on March 9 to decommission about 31 kilograms of sea cucumbers that had been illegally harvested from the ocean, about 6 kilos of which had been cooked.
INCOPESCA was contacted by the Samara police after a local who cares for a finca near Punta Indio at the south end of Samara beach reported that people had made fires on the neighboring property to prepare the sea cucumbers, which is prohibited, according to Samara District Chief Jose Angel Gomez Matarita. Although the police were unable to apprehend the individuals involved, they were able to return the decommissioned sea cucumbers to the ocean in hopes that some might survive.
Peñas Zuñiga said that in January they decommissioned about 180 kilos of sea cucumbers in Playa Garza and have also had reports of the illegal fishing in Barco Quebrada and Lagarto de Santa Cruz. He explained that those involved look for places where the access is by water, where cars don't pass and the people are unlikely to notice their activity. He said data shows that the sea cucumbers illegally harvested here are exported to Nicaragua and from there are reportedly sold for a high price in places like China. According to traditional Chinese medicine, sea cucumbers have health benefits for the blood and kidneys.
Anyone who sees this illegal activity taking place is urged to report it to the police, MINAET or INCOPESCA.