Bulgarian Customs Prevent Smuggling of Two Million European Eels
Customs officers at Sofia International Airport have thwarted an attempt to smuggle into Bulgaria two million European baby eels, a critically endangered species.
Two Chinese nationals travelling from Madrid to Sofia have tried to smuggle the eels packed up into eight styrofoam containers and declared as food items, The National Customs Agency said in a statement on Thursday.
European eel (Anguila Anguila) is classified as a critically threatened species of fish protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. It spawns and is born at sea, and then migrates into inland waters to eat and grow.
Trading in the species without a permit is forbidden worldwide.
European eels are selling in Europe at an average price of EUR 500 per kilogramme, while the price in Asian countries can reach up to EUR 1,300 per kilo, the statement read.
The baby eels were transported to the rescue center at the Public Aquarium in the city of Varna, on the Black Sea coast.
The smugglers were taken into 72-hour police custody and an investigation was launched.
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