CITES COP19 lists sea cucumbers as ‘threatened’

Source: The post is based on the article “CITES COP19 lists sea cucumbers as ‘threatened’published in Down To Earth on 23rd November.

What is the News?

The 19th Conference of Parties (COP19) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) has accepted a proposal to include sea cucumbers in Appendix II of the Convention.

What are Sea Cucumbers?

Sea cucumbers are marine invertebrates that live on the seafloor. They’re named for their unusual oblong shape that resembles a fat cucumber.

They are part of a larger animal group called echinoderms, which also contains starfish and sea urchins. 

Range: Sea cucumbers are found in virtually all marine environments throughout the world, from shallow to deep-sea environments. Sea cucumbers are benthic, meaning they live on the ocean floor. However, their larvae are planktonic, meaning they float in the ocean with the currents.

Reproduction: Sea cucumbers can breed sexually or asexually.

Significance: Sea Cucumbers are an integral part of the coral ecosystem as one of the main by-products of the sea cucumbers digestion of sand is calcium carbonate and this is essential for the survival of the coral reefs. 

– They act like garbage collectors of the ocean world, and they recycle nutrients, thus playing an important role in keeping coral reefs in good condition. 

Sea cucumber in India is treated as an endangered species listed under Schedule I of Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.

Threats: According to Wildlife Conservation Society-India WCS-India), sea cucumbers were the most frequently trafficked marine species in India from 2015-2021.

– Tamil Nadu recorded the highest number of marine wildlife seizures during this period.

Initiatives: In 2020, the Lakshadweep Islands administration created the world’s first conservation area for sea cucumbers.

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