Greece’s port authorities launched an investigation shortly after receiving a complaint about the smuggling of a shipment of sea cucumbers on Wednesday night, weighing about 761 kilograms. The sea cucumbers were found on a truck aboard the Kefalonia – Kyllini line ship.
They are valued at approximately one million euros and were packed in forty crates with thousands of sea cucumbers in each. While it is not against the law to harvest endangered species, there are certain weight and quantity restrictions, for instance, that need to be adhered to.
Furthermore, in certain situations, laboratories are prohibited from processing, standardizing, and packing the species for export to Europe or elsewhere.
What are sea cucumbers?
Warm and temperate oceans are home to these species. Since they look like cucumber vegetables, they are more generally referred to as sea cucumbers.
Sea cucumbers have an endoskeleton beneath their skin. They can be found on coral reefs, cracks in sandstone, and other similar habitats. Species that make their home in the water typically lack a skeleton.
In self-defense, they have been known to lop off limbs. Yet these creatures can heal themselves. They are not particularly social creatures, preferring to remain undisturbed, and consume anything they might find in the ocean floor mud. This might actually be anything from animal to plant matter.
Why do they cost so much?
Due to their high market value, sea cucumbers attract divers who are willing to risk their lives to fetch them from deep waters.
Since ancient times, sea cucumbers have been enjoyed by Asia’s upper class as a gourmet, high-protein treat due to their unusual appearance and flavorful flesh.
Experts agree that the thick, chewy body and, to a lesser extent, the flavor are two of the main reasons why foodies so highly value sea cucumbers.
There are around 1,250 distinct kinds of sea cucumbers around the globe. One kilogram of these exquisite marine species can sell for more than $3,000, despite the fact that they are not very desirable at first glance.
The Japanese sea cucumber, valued at up to $3,500 per kilogram, is justifiably regarded as the most costly on the market.
A single dish of a common variety of sea cucumber may cost more than $170 if ordered online, according to businessinsider.com.
The skin of sea cucumbers contains a substance called fucosylated glycosaminoglycan, which has been used to treat joint disorders like arthritis in Asia for centuries and, more recently, to cure some kinds of cancer and decrease blood clots in Europe.
Here's why sea cucumbers are so expensive pic.twitter.com/6muJrGsM0Z
— Insider Business (@BusinessInsider) October 28, 2020