The customs officials in Chennai have seized around 660 kg of marine species remains on Monday night.
A press release was issued by the Revenue Department that said that the species like seahorse and Pangolin scales were kept in a godown in Chennai’s Mannady. The remains have to be flown to Mumbai to be sold in Abroad. When a surprise check at the godown they found the animals remains in high-density polyethene bags.
When the person responsible for looking after the godown was approached by the officials, they admitted that the goods were Pangolin scales, seahorses, pipefishes and shark fins.
They also informed that they had obtained these species from Rameswaram coastal areas and from local Kasimedu fishing area in Chennai. According to the information by The Custom Department, these items were to be smuggled to China and other Asian countries.
Further examination by the officers of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau revealed that all the items seized falls under various provisions of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Also, the export of shark fins is also prohibited by law.
The total seized species amounted to be, 111kg of Pangolin scales, 160kg of seahorse dried, 180 kg of pipefishes dried, 5 kg of sea cucumber, 125 kg of Manta and Mobila Ray gills and 79 kg of shark fins. Taking the total of them to around 660 kg and they were valued at Rs 7 crore.
Customs officers said that they have kept two persons in official custody and will be handed to the Tamil Nadu Forest Department for further action.
The official announcement by press release also disclosed that the Pangolin is an endangered species and most hunted species. Its remains are used in traditional Chinese medicines. The seahorse and pipefish of Manta and Mobula ray gills are also used for the same purpose while the shark fins are used for an expensive soup delicacy in China.