The state Board of Land and Natural Resources unanimously approved an emergency rule Friday to ban the harvesting of sea cucumbers for 120 days in Hawaii’s nearshore waters.
The Department of Land and Natural Resources recently learned that the sea cucumbers may be sold for $5 each to a new company that processes and exports them to China, according to the Division of Aquatic Resources.
The invertebrates are used for food and medicinal purposes in China.
Conservation enforcement officers recently discovered overharvesting of sea cucumbers off Maui and Oahu. According to the Division of Aquatic Resources, about 3,000 to 4,000 sea cucumbers are being harvested off Maui alone.
The emergency rule will now be sent to Gov. David Ige’s office for his signature.