BOC Busts Endangered Marine Products Smuggling Attempt
Php 10 Million worth of various dried marine products declared as endangered species by the government like the Manta Ray and Sting Ray, which arrived at the Sub-Port of Manila North Harbor on board MV Princess of the South on August 12, 2012, were seized by Bureau of Customs officials after it was found to have been shipped from Cebu without the required transport clearance from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in violation of Fisheries Administrative Order No. 193 and Republic Act 3550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998.
In the media presentation of the seized marine products today, Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon said the 2,300 kilos of illegal dried marine products shipment was consigned to Golden East Marine Export, Inc. of Las Pinas City and may have been intended for export.
“This seems to be an attempt to smuggle out of the country highly valuable marine products which are considered endangered species by the government.” Biazon said, adding that, “These poaching should be stopped and poachers must be jailed. These people are responsible for depleting the country’s already dwindling natural reseources.”
Biazon further explained that, while the BOC has tightened its watch of incoming cargo movements to thwart smuggling, the Bureau is also on the look-out for exporters who totally disregard the laws of the land protecting the country’s endangered species for huge and quick profits.
“We shall apply the maximum penalties provided by law to all those involved in this smuggling attempt.” Biazon said
In the export market, current prices of dried gills and meat of Manta Ray and Sting Ray per kilogram could fetch up to US 500. Dries parts of other stingrays can costUS8/kg. These are highly sought products, especially in the Chinese market, because it is said to cure chicken pox, infertility and cancer.
Two weeks after the arrival of the 10-footer container van from Cebu, a joint BFAR and BOC team conducted an inspection of the van on September 11, 2012. During inspection, the dried cut and sliced portions of Manta Rays and Sting Rays were discovered. Samples of the dried marine products were subsequently taken to the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI) for testing and identification.