The sea cucumber catching season is supposed to start on Sunday April 1, 2018, on the same date that grouper fishing season begins (grouper is banned from February 1 to March 31), this was announced by the fishermen and permit holders of the Yucatecan coastal communities.
But the sea cucumber has created a peculiar situation in the state of Yucatan. During a meeting on Thursday March 1s, fishing cooperative leaders assured that the Dzilam Bravo area is where the sea cucumber mafia operates with impunity.
After the meeting, fishermen and fishing leaders (who asked to remain anonymous), pointed out that cucumber fishing is unstoppable all along the coast, practically all year long. They even said that robberies at high sea are being perpetrated in order to get engines for the illegal capture of this echinoderm.
They affirmed that at least 1,000 “poachers” are dedicated to the clandestine fishing of sea cucumber off the coasts of Yucatán.
They denounced that the sea cucumber mafia pays to people on beach communities to boil the sea cucumber in their patios and conceal the catch, in order to avoid seizures. Other illegal sea cucumber catchers avoid being discovered by boiling the catch on their own boats at night, for which they carry onboard gas tanks of domestic gas stoves.
Some of the fishermen reported that there is illegal off-season fishing of all kind of species including: sea cucumber, octopus, red grouper, negrillo and lobster, which “poachers” sell to fish markets and restaurants in Progreso, Mérida and other parts of the Peninsula. Fishing cooperative leaders calculate that at least 25 tons of lobster were caught illegally off the coasts of Yucatan last year.
Finally, fishermen declared that since sea cucumber is caught all year long, there is already a shortage in several areas of the Yucatecan coast.