Over 800 kg of live sea cucumbers meant for being smuggled to Sri lanka were seized from a boat in the Pamban sea coast near here on Thursday, Customs officials said.
A team of Customs officials on patrol were about to intercept the boat when its occupants jumped into the sea and escaped, leaving behind 829 kg of sea cucumber packed in 69 jute bags, Customs Superintendent Joseph Jayaraj said.
A hunt was on for the smugglers, he said adding the boat and the sea cucumber had been seized.
The worth of the sea cucumbers was about Rs.10 lakh and they would be handed over to the Gulf of Mannar forest officials, the official added.
Sea cucumbers are classified as endangered species and their harvest is banned under the Wildlife Protection Act.
However, they were being harvested illegally and sent to Sri Lankan and other South East Asian countries where they are used as food and in preparing medicines.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)