Rameswaram (TN), Sep 20 (PTI) Processed sea cucumbers, weighing 750 kgs and allegedly being smuggled to Sri Lanka, were seized by the Tamil Nadu marine police personnel from a stranded boat off the coast here and three people arrested during a routine patrol, police said.
The sea cucumbers, an endangered marine species whose harvest in prohibited under the Wildlife Protection Act, were found kept concealed in gunny bags among sacks of turmeric on Saturday off nearby Pamban, they said.
According to police, the unregistered boat was from Tuticorin's Thereaspuram and the engine encountered a fault and haltedenroute to Sri Lanka near Pamban here.
As per rough estimates, the cucumbers that weighed 750 kilos and 400 kilo turmeric could fetch about Rs 50 lakh, they said adding the men who tried to smuggle these had a plan to illegally bring back a consignment of gold and they were arrested.
The marine species is in demand in Sri Lanka and other South East Asian countries for use as a delicacy and in preparing medicine and police and forest personnel have foiled several smuggling attempts in the past in the region. PTI CORR VGN VS VS