Sausage like creatures

Sea cucumbers are tube-shaped marine animals belonging to the echinoderm group, which includes starfish. They are commonly found moving slowly along the sea floor in shallows like tide pools and coral reefs. They feed on algae and plankton, and are in turn prized in certain east Asian cuisines.

Getting on the Schedule 1 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 is the highest level of protection possible in India to animals. Samir Sinha, TRAFFIC India, a wildlife conservation society, says, 'The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests includes species in the list based on various sources of information including the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and its own internal studies.' He is not sure about the procedure followed for sea cucumbers. In 2002, the then Union Minister of Environment and Forests, T R Baalu, said his ministry had consulted experts before banning sea cu-cumber fishing. He claimed a CMFRI study had found a fall in numbers.