With the poaching of Japanese sea cucumbers showing no sign of abating amid strong sales of the delicacy in China, the government is considering establishing a system to ensure that proof of authorized harvest is presented at the time of export.

Sea cucumbers from Hokkaido are particularly popular in China, though poaching has been reported in other parts of Japan, including Aomori and Hiroshima prefectures.

According to Finance Ministry trade statistics, exports of sea cucumbers came to ¥22.9 billion ($207 million) in 2017, with most shipped to Hong Kong and mainland China. Processed items were traded at around ¥27,000 per kilogram.