Harvest for sea cucumbers begins

Posted: Monday, October 06, 2008

KETCHIKAN - Divers are getting ready for the beginning of the commercial sea cucumber season in Southeast Alaska with the lowest quota in several years.

The commercial season starts this morning.

Sea cucumbers are also known as sea slugs. They're echinoderms with an elongated body and leathery skin.

They're a popular food in Asia.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game set a guideline harvest of just more than 1.1 million pounds for 18 harvest areas.

That's down about 19 percent from last season and 24 percent lower than the 2005-2006 season.

The reason for the drop in sea cucumbers isn't known. Biologist Marc Pritchett says there's an assumption that it's connected to sea otter predation.

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