Quito, Aug 4 (EFE).- The directorate of Ecuador’s Galapagos National Park (DPNG) announced Wednesday the end of the first sea cucumber fishing season in the waters of the Pacific archipelago since 2014 because the catch has reached the limit.
Considered a delicacy in some Asian countries, the sea cucumber is part of a larger group that includes the starfish and the sea urchin.
Daily catch counts “confirm that that quota of 600,000 individuals, established by environmental authorities, has been filled,” the DPNG said in a statement.
Crews fishing at a distance from ports “have two days to return and have their catch monitored” before the start of an eight-day window to sell and export the sea cucumber harvest, the statement said.
The season opened July 21 under an accord between the DPNG and fishing cooperatives that set the limit for the catch at 600,000, subject to the data’s continuing to reflect a sustained recovery from the depletion which prompted the six-year-long ban on harvesting the species.
Environmental authorities have been assisted by Ecuador’s navy and national police in enforcing compliance with the limit to ensure the sustainability of the sea cucumber population in the Galapagos.
Measures included establishing a minimum size for capture – sea cucumbers range in size from 2.5 cm (less than an inch) to 1.8 m (more than 6 ft) – and prohibiting any fishing in the Bolivar Strait, a breeding ground for various species of marine life. EFE