Fla wildlife officials limit sea cucumber harvests

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida wildlife officials have voted to limit how many sea cucumbers can be harvested in both state and federal waters.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted Wednesday to limit the number of sea cucumbers collected to 200 per boat per trip. The limits take effect June 1

The Tampa Bay Times (http://bit.ly/Qq167s) reports the decision was criticized by the owner of the only sea cucumber processing plant on the American east coast, who said it would force him to shut down.

The sea cucumber, a long and lumpy invertebrate, is extremely popular in Asian countries, particularly China, where it is used to treat joint pain and as an aphrodisiac. The demand is so heavy that worldwide 20 percent of sea cucumber fisheries have been fully depleted.

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Information from: Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Fla.), http://www.tampabay.com.