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October 23, 2015


Smugglers of Lobster Seedstock Get Caught




On October 6, 2015, authorities foiled an attempt to smuggle around 320,000 juvenile lobsters [species not named], worth more $435 thousand, from West Nusa Tenggara to Singapore via the Adisucipto International Airport in Yogyakarta on the island of Java.


The confiscated juveniles will be released off the south coast of Java, near the town of Gunungkidul, where lobster populations have declined.  “Temporarily, we are holding the baby lobsters at a farm in Gunungkidul.  Once they recover, we will release them into their natural habitat,” said Suprayogi, the head of the Yogyakarta Fish Quarantine and Quality Control Agency.  “We have to first help the lobsters recover after the smuggling attempt so that they will have a high survival capacity in their natural habitat,” said Suprayogi.


The price of juvenile lobsters in the international market is high.  One juvenile can sell for between $1.23 and $1.49 in local markets, but in Singapore, they are priced up to $7.24 each.


Security has been tightened at airports known as main smuggling points, such as Adisucipto International Airport in Yogyakarta, Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali and Juanda Airport in Surabaya, East Java.


On October 16, 2015, in another instance of lobster smuggling, 15,000, two-to-three centimeter, juvenile lobsters [species not named], estimated to be worth $32.6 thousand, destined for Singapore and Vietnam, were confiscated by customs officers at Soekarno-Hatta Airport in Jakarta.


Rusnanto, Head of Monitoring and Information Control of Fish Quarantine Quality Control and Fishery Product Security at the airport, said, “The seeds were packed and hand carried by an individual.”  The suspect is currently undergoing intensive interrogation and faces three-years imprisonment and an $11.1 thousand fine.


“The lobster seeds were wrapped in three plastic bags and then placed inside numerous suitcases,” said Helmi, the chief of Soekarno-Hatta Airport Customs.  Customs officers were suspicious of the suspect’s movements when he entered the airport.  An X-Ray scan showed that the suitcase contained plastic bags with water and sponges inside.  Also, the number of suitcases that the suspect was carrying was unreasonable, and they were wet, which aroused suspicion.


Sources: 1. Jakarta Post.  Thousands of Baby Lobsters to Be Released to Natural Habitat.  Slamet Susanto.  October 7, 2015.  2. Tempo.  Lobster Seeds Smuggling Thwarted.  Joniansyah Hardjono.  October 22, 2015.

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