Information » Sea Sponge Facts
The Sea Sponge ‘Simple Facts’
The Sea Sponge is not a coral, and is not a plant, rather it is classified as an animal which has neither brain nor central nervous system
Sea Sponges live on the ocean floor, they attach themselves permanently to a solid location under the water and they do not move around.
Sponges are commonly dark under the water, this is due to the dark membrane which covers the sponge which acts like skin and protects the inner soft skeleton.
A sponge reproduces by buddying, where sperm is caught by nearby sponges and fertilization of the egg takes place internally. The resultant tiny larva is released and settles on the ocean floor where it develops and grows into a sponge.
Sponges feed by filtering plankton and organic particles from the ocean currents through thousands of tiny pores on the surface of their bodies. Sponges also obtain oxygen and nourishment from the flowing water.
There are approximately 5000 species of sponges identified by scientists worldwide with only approximately seven species harvested worldwide and considered to be commercially viable.
The Sea Sponge ‘A Renewable Natural Resource’
People unaware of the true strength and regenerative powers of the sea sponge will sometimes argue that removal of sea sponges from the ocean floor disrupts the ecological environment and has a damaging effect on the area of harvest and the sponge population.
The above argument is not based on fact or science rather it is based on a general misconception amongst environmentalists. A far more factual account in regards to the harvesting of natural sponges is produced below.
Natural Sea Sponges possess remarkable powers of regeneration, they have the ability to re-grow lost parts and pieces broken off by water currents, and have the ability to settle in another location and re-grow into a clone of the parent sponge.
When sponges are harvested, those collecting the sponges are careful to ensure that the base (roots) of the sponge remains in tact so as the sponge has the ability to regenerate and re-grow back to its original form.
The natural sea sponge is a renewable resource from the sea which has been harvested for over 150yrs. If not harvested, sea sponges have a definitive life span of approximately 10 years, harvesting allows for re-generation and extended life.
There are approximately 5000 species of sponges identified by scientists worldwide with only seven species harvested worldwide and considered to be commercially viable.
As suppliers of natural sea sponges, Mediterranean Natural Sponges has become a global partner in the natural sea sponge industry. In partnership with other suppliers around the world, we need to be aware of what effect our practices have on the ocean environment.
Sponge populations are harvested carefully so as to ensure minimal disruption to the harvest area and to assist and promote regeneration of the sea sponges for future harvest and collection.
It is in our best interests to ensure the long term sustainability of sea sponges in their natural environment, and for this reason we promote and supervise appropriate harvest and collection methods.