Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Sea Cucumbers are So Popular in Asia They Face Extinction

By Steven Purcell and Beth Polidoro, Arizona State University | March 10, 2014 01:46am 

This article was originally published at The Conversation.The publication contributed the article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

For many in the West, it might seem a marvel that slug-like sea cucumbers could be at risk of extinction from their popularity on dining tables. But to Asian consumers, this news should be no great surprise. A new study sheds light on why these humble sea creatures are at serious risk worldwide.

Sea cucumbers are the less glamorous cousins of starfish and sea urchins, occurring in all of the major oceans and seas. Eaten in China and other southeast Asian countries for centuries, they are appreciated for their soft texture, dietary and medicinal properties.

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