crime

Yakuza currently threatening Japan’s sea cucumbers

13 Comments
By SoraNews24

It’s an increasingly common scene out on the Sea of Japan: in the middle of the night, Japan Coast Guard patrols come across a suspicious ship that appears to be fishing, but whenever they approach the boat for questioning, the high-performance vessels take off at speeds they simply cannot match.

These ships are believed to belong to the yakuza, out on the sea in search of sea cucumbers again. This growing problem has caused the national government to begin to take measures to restrict the trade of these animals.

Currently, the penalty for poaching sea cucumbers is a maximum six months in prison and a 10,000 yen fine. While that might be enough to keep away lone fishermen looking for some of that big-time sea cucumber money, it’s hardly enough to make a yakuza member flinch.

Last year, a Yamaguchi-gumi boss was sued for possession of 60 tons of sea cucumbers and ordered to pay 100 million yen ($912,000). More recently, five Yamaguchi-gumi members were arrested with 450 kilograms of the creatures. Even still, such arrests are rare as the gangsters use ships faster than the authorities and even if caught, can simply dump the evidence back in the ocean.

According to a source close to organized crime who spoke with Shukan Bunshun, sea cucumbers are a major source of revenue for the yakuza right up there with amphetamine trafficking. This may come as a surprise to Japanese people who use sea cucumbers for little more than a pickled side dish.

Actually, the bulk of sea cucumber profits comes from abroad. It is said to be a 20 billion yen ($182 million) marine export behind only pearls and scallops in terms of revenue. This is thanks to a recent spike in demand in China causing prices to skyrocket to tens of thousands of yen per kilogram (roughly hundreds of dollars per pound) for dried sea cucumber.

The deal is made sweeter by the fact that sea cucumbers aren’t regulated like other forms of seafood. For example, bluefin tuna cannot be exported unless its source is verified by a regional fishing industry association. Now, in response to the current poaching sprees, the government is considering similar rules for sea cucumbers as well.

Until then, these noble echinoderms must continue to endure this reckless overfishing of the mob. They aren’t the only victims either. Perhaps some sympathy should be given to those yakuza members doing all the grunt-work too.

Source: Shukan Bunshun

Read more stories on SoraNews24.

-- Marine creature-themed tea bags transform teapots into aromatic oceans

-- Our Japanese team discover “the most delicious way in the universe” to eat cucumber

-- The Japanese town where cucumbers are forbidden

© SoraNews24

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.

13 Comments
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I am hungry after reading this. Love eating them.

it did make me laugh a bit though. Imagine you’re kicked out of school, stole scooters and always ran away from police, bashed a load of people up, robbed a few places, got drunk and high all the time, tattooed up then finally passed your job interview to be r eal kich ass yakusa. Monday morning, go to the big bosses office. “Son, you’re on sea cucmbers”

8 ( +8 / -0 )

So, what are you in prison for?

Pilfering sea cucumbers!

I can see the movie now....

"Namako Dorobou"

I know Itami would be on it if he were still alive!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Are they using them as replacement fingers?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Last week it was watermelons. In recent years I have read here of bulk thefts from orchards and warehouses of fruit and rice, etc.

Hard times for some people.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I just love the headline.

Yak: You, er, wouldn't like anything to happen to that nice rock you're sittin' on, would ya?

Sea cucumber: ...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

One wonders which purchase is more unethical: shellfish from NK labeled as Japanese, or Yakuza-pilfered namako. But you don't want to screw around with those 漁業協同組合 - They'll put a stop to this soon enough. No need to rely on the government.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Gave me an image of being approached by a yak on a street corner...

"pssst.... Wanna buy some nanako? Top grade, quality stuff!"

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Wow! Times must be tough for the Yaks if they have to resort to stealing sea cucumbers to make a living. I guess the good old days of racketeering, extortion and demanding protection money are over.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yakuza currently threatening Japan’s sea cucumbers

"See here, Namako-chan. You don't pay your protection money and all kinds of accidents could 'appen. Pay up or you'll have your guts cut open, you'll be salted and given the vinegar treatment!"

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"Sea cucumber, this ocean isn't big enough for the both of us. You got until high tide to get outta Dodge.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Honestly I don't know what Sea cucumber is. I have to google it to upgrade myself.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

And if you mess this catch up, if the SDF catches you - you lose half your right pinky!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Yaks used to poach abalone, maybe they still do. Used to see them in Misaki all the time.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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