1.6 Million Baby Eels worth over P2 million bound for Hong Kong, seized

Juliet Guevarra holding a bag containing (1 of 324)1000 Baby Eels

Juliet Guevarra holding a bag containing (1 of 324)1000 Baby Eels

Juliet Guevarra of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources holds one of the 332 plastic bags containing eel fingerlings that were confiscated from a passenger about to board a Cathay Pacific flight bound for Hong Kong yesterday.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) intercepted some P2 million to P3 million worth of eel fingerlings contained in 332 plastic bags, with 5,000 fingerlings in each bag, on Cathay Pacific flight CX 904 bound for Hong Kong yesterday morning.

At the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, BFAR officials Ben Curativo and Juliet Guevarra said  “That around 3:45 a.m. they were conducting a routine check at the Miascor warehouse near NAIA when they spotted some 46 boxes abandoned by its owner.

They also said that the eel fingerlings were left to the shipper Expertrans, when they started to question the content of the boxes.

The fingerlings, with a gross weight of 949 kilos and costing P22,000 per kilo in the market, came from Cagayan province.”

According to BFAR head Virginia Bartolome, the eel fingerlings were confiscated in violation of Republic Act 8550 and will be brought to BFAR hatchery in Tanay to save some dying eels.

Bartolome said “It is unlawful for any person, association or corporation to export or cause to be exported fry or fingerlings of eel species except those with special permit, from BFAR for purposes of educational and scientific research.”

Bartolome added that the offender is subject to eight years imprisonment, confiscation or a fine equivalent to double the export value of the same upon the discretion of the court and revocation of the fishing and export permit.

“We are now tracking down the person behind the shipment. We suspect the eel fry would be grown there and once they reach maturity could be served in restaurants, where they are considered an exotic cuisine with aphrodisiac qualities.  By Rudy Santos (The Philippine Star)

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