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Attempt to smuggle endangered corals foiled

Jul 13, 2012 - 10:39 PM

Customs and BFAR officials stop the shipment of a cargo that contains local endangered coral species

MANILA, Philippines - The Bureau of Customs and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has foiled a plan to illegally export some endangered local species of corals.

Authorities confiscated on Friday, July 13, some 33 boxes containing 149 pieces of corals to be shipped to Fukuoka City in Japan. Permit papers show that the boxes are registered to contain only 'live tropical marine fishes', but inspectors found that there are corals hidden underneath the fishes in each box.

The boxes are consigned to Media Net Corporation in Japan, and are to be exported by Seri International Enterprises. The Customs has issued a warrant of seizure and detention against the shipment, and recommended that the corals be turned over to BFAR.

Republic Act 8550 states that it is unlawful to fish and smuggle endangered species out of the country. Aside from confiscation, punishment for violating this law include imprisonment of 12 to 20 years, payment of P120,000 fine, and cancellation of fishing and export permit. - Rappler.com