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Do Sea Cucumbers Clean the Ocean? An Expert's Perspective

Sea cucumbers may not look like much, but they are an important part of the ocean's ecosystem. These soft-bodied marine creatures help keep the ocean clean and resilient, even fighting climate change. As they travel along the seabed, sea cucumbers eat and defecate, distributing nutrients and removing excess organic matter from sediment and water. They also produce calcium carbonate (CaCO), a key component of coral.

Unfortunately, sea cucumbers are also a delicacy in some Asian cultures. Taken out of the water, they are gutted, packed with salt, boiled, dried again, and then sent to markets in Hong Kong and Singapore. The bioactive compounds produced by sea cucumbers have been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat a number of ailments, such as arthritis and cancer.

I am a consultant for projects to grow sea cucumbers for the lucrative Chinese market. That's why I've studied them for many years and find them fascinating. The Nature Conservancy is working with communities in Papua New Guinea to establish sustainable management of their sea cucumber fisheries, in the hope of protecting these creatures and ensuring stable incomes for rural communities.

Sea cucumbers may not be the most appetizing creatures, but they are essential for maintaining a healthy ocean ecosystem. We must do our part to ensure that these creatures are protected and their populations remain stable.

Sherman Downard
Sherman Downard

Beeraholic. Extreme social media fan. Keen gamer. Freelance zombie enthusiast. Certified social media practitioner. Extreme pop culture nerd.

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