Mandapam (Tamil Nadu) [India], September 19 (ANI): The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) on Sunday seized two tonnes of sea cucumber worth Rs 8 crores in Tamil Nadu's Mandapam.
According to the ICG, working on a tip-off about illegal transhipment of sea cucumber, a banned marine species, in the wee hours of Sunday, the ICG team swung into action and tracked the suspected boat involved in the alleged smuggling.
It further stated that ICG teams were deployed in the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay areas to effectively cordon the boat's likely escape by sea route.
Subsequently, the boat was found anchored about 15 km off Vedalai South of Mandapam without its crew at 10.30 am on Sunday and was boarded by the team of Coast Guard, stated the ICG.
It informed that the boarding team of ICG Hovercraft H-183 recovered 200 gunny bags of sea cucumber weighing 2000 kg. The boat along with seized sea cucumbers was brought to Mandapam near Rameshwaram, Tamilnadu and handed over to forest officials.
The value of seized sea cucumbers is reported to be about Rs 8 Crores.
On investigation, it was revealed that the consignment was planned for transhipment across the International Maritime Boundary Line during dark hours.
Sea cucumbers are in high demand in China and Southeast Asia.
It may be recalled that earlier in the month of July, the ICG had seized about 1200 kg of sea cucumber in Mandapam and apprehended two persons.
Sea cucumber in India is treated as an endangered species listed under schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. It is primarily smuggled from Tamil Nadu to Sri Lanka in fishing vessels from Ramanathapuram and Tuticorin districts. (ANI)