Smuggling of live corals foiled at Manila airport

MANILA - Authorities foiled an attempt to smuggle out live corals through the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) on Friday.

The live corals were found concealed inside a shipment of tropical fish bound for Fukuoka, Japan by a joint team from the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

According to reports reaching the media affairs division of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), the corals were hidden under 33 styrofoam boxes of live tropical fish.

Ben Curativo, head of the fisheries quarantine division at Naia, said the shipment of live tropical fish was legal and was accompanied by proper permits. But exporting live corals is illegal under the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998, he added.

Approximately 149 live coral pieces were found concealed in the shipment consigned to Media Net Corporation, with address at 2-1-7 Nishi Takasu, Wkamatu-Ku Fukuoka, Japan.

Reynaldo Gathalian, chief of the BOC Export Division at the Naia disclosed that the airway bill of the cargo listed the shipper as a certain Seri International Enterprises with local address of 857 Santiago St., Gatchalian Subdivision, Manuyo II, Las Piñas City.

Gatchalian said a warrant of seizure and detention has been issued against the shipment. It will be turned over to the BFAR.

A combined team from the BOC and BFAR has been dispatched to the address of the shipper to determine the individuals involved in the smuggling attempt.

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