Brown coloured sea sponge on white background. Natural fibres of the round sponge showing with holes between them.

Are natural sponges still harvested?

Yes, natural sea sponges are still harvested to this day. We are testament to that! At Naroa, we harvest organic sea sponge products by following the same, traditional harvesting methods used throughout sea sponge history. Not only does this support coastal communities and keep traditional skills alive, but it also supports the sea sponge population through sustainable harvesting.

Learn more about sea sponge history and how we go about harvesting sea sponges here. Don’t forget to take a look at our range of luxurious, skin-soothing sea sponges in our shop too.

The origins of harvesting sea sponges

Although a dying tradition, the harvesting of natural sponges can be traced back in Ancient Greece as far as 800BC, where there was early commentary on the use of natural sea sponges. The Greeks used the sponges for cosmetic and cleaning, much like we still do today. They knew about the superior qualities of a sea sponge for those purposes.

Today, after a disease wiped out much of the sponge population in the Mediterranean, many of the sponge divers and processors left the industry completely. However, some remain and are working hard to keep the proud tradition of sea sponge diving alive. 

We are still harvesting, still processing, and still delivering the finest of natural skincare products to our customers.  So, as long as we are still here, natural sponges are still being harvested.

How harvesting works

For an in-depth look at how an organic sea sponge is harvested, read our article What Is Natural Sponge Made From? But to give you a quick recap, here is what we do at Naroa.

  • Our teams of divers head out onto the Caribbean Seas for several weeks at a time,
  • They dive down to the seabed and identify sea sponges over a specific height,
  • Sponges that are large enough are hand-cut above the root, allowing them to regrow,
  • On the boat, the sponges are rinsed clean then hung and dried in the sun
  • When they reach the shore, they are processed using our traditional methods and expertly cut to size,
  • Finally, we package our sponges in 100% plastic-free packaging, ready to be shipped. 

Sea sponges play an important role in the marine eco-system, filtering sea water as it moves across a reef. This sustainable practice ensures that large sea sponges can regrow, often healthier than before, and small sea sponges are left on the seabed. 

Types of sea sponges for harvest

Harvesting sea sponges begins with selecting the right varieties. There are hundreds of different sea sponge varieties that grow in the ocean – some can be harvested to create the best product for cleaning pores, while others are of little use to humans.

At Naroa, we select the different types of sponge for their unique skincare properties for all skin types. Our exfoliate sponge is excellent for getting deep into pores without harming sensitive skin, our massage sponge has a luxuriant stress-relieving feel, and our soothe sponge is ideal for treating your skin to a gentle yet rich lather.

Explore all our sponges and learn more about their properties at Naroa.

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