Demand for Sea Cucumbers Turns India-Sri Lanka Waters into Trafficking Hotspot

It was a calm October night over Sri Lanka’s northern seas, the silence broken only by the sound of a rapidly approaching motorboat from India. In Kalpitiya, a town further down the island’s western coast, it rendezvoused with a truck waiting on the beach.

Also waiting there was a Navy patrol team, which seized the illegal consignment of 1,196 kilograms (2,637 pounds) of dried sea cucumbers worth more than 16 million Sri Lankan rupees (nearly $80,000); authorities also arrested two trafficking suspects.

The previous month, on Sept. 19, the Indian Coast Guard made a similar arrest in the waters off Mandapam in Tamil Nadu state. The individuals arrested in that incident were carrying 2 metric tons of sea cucumbers meant to be smuggled by sea into Sri Lanka.

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