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Elvers Confiscated for the Third Time this Year

Health Eels Welfare +9 more

PHILIPPINES - The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has confiscated another seven boxes of elvers, eel fry, at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) at 11:45 p.m. on 17 December, 2012, writes Anna Merlinna T. Fontanilla, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Region 4A.

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The seven boxes, containing about 100,000 elvers packed in nine plastic bags were being checked in by Korean national, Cho Young Sok bound for Incheon, Korea via Cebu Pacific flight 5J 190.

Mr Sok, who was trying to get a clearance for the seven boxes, was referred to the BFAR Quarantine Office by PO2 Pedro Nebres of PNP. The request was denied upon identification of the contents by Quarantine Officer Marlu Gulle of BFAR.

The elvers were immediately confiscated and transferred to the National Inland Fisheries Technology Center in Tanay, Rizal upon instruction of BFAR Regional Director Esmeralda Paz Manalang.

The incident is already the third attempt this year to ship the highly demanded elvers. The first was on July 8, 2012 when 46 boxes of elvers bound for Hongkong were confiscated and the second incident was on September 16, 2012 when 13 boxes of elvers bound for Taiwan were confiscated by BFAR authorities.

The elvers are in high demand from many Asian countries such as Japan, China and Korea which consider the species a delicacy and believed to be a source of stamina for men.

Elvers are priced from P20,000 to P30,000 per kilo (around $450 to $700 per kilo).

The exportation of elvers is a violation of Section 61 of Republic Act 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 and Fisheries Administrative Order (FAO) No. 242 which aims to stop the widespread and excessive exploitation of the species which may lead to the depletion of its population in the country. FAO 242 carries a penalty of eight years imprisonment, confiscation or a fine equal to or twice the export value of the shipment, and revocation of fishing and/or export permit.