Most of us don't even know what a sea cucumber is, much less that you can eat it. But it's a much sought after delicacy in Asian markets and while it's been fished out in most parts of the world, it's still being extracted in Belize and exported legally and illegally.
But now, the Department of Fisheries wants to slow things down. And so, the season which should open next week on January first has been postponed. A notice from the Fisheries Department says that no Sea Cucumber fishing license or Sea Cucumber export license will be issued since the Sea Cucumber fishery will quote, "remain closed until further notice."
Our information is that Fisheries wants to carry out an assessment of what it considers a very vulnerable species before it opens the season. They don't feel comfortable opening the season without being satisfied that the populations are robust enough to withstand another year of exploitation.
Dried sea cucumber attracts a higher international market price than conch or lobster and Guatemala has huge demand. The illegal trade with that country is considered robust.