- Title: RUSSIA: Russian smugglers seized with crabs destined for Asian market
- Date: 26th October 2008
- Summary: (L!3) AVACHA BAY, PETRO-PAVLOVSK REGION, KAMCHATKA, RUSSIA (RECENT) (REUTERS) BOAT AT SEA SIDE OF BOAT TRAVELLING AT SEA SHIP 'EAST-1' DETAINED BY COASTGUARDS FOR SUSPECTED CRAB SMUGGLING CREW ON BOARD 'EAST-1' SHIP 'EAST-1' AT SEA WATER PUMPING OUT OF SHIP VARIOUS OF CREW ON BOARD 'EAST-1' COASTGUARD PREPARING TO BOARD 'EAST-1' ROPE ON BOAT COASTGUARD SHIP TOWER WITH RADAR MAST OF 'EAST-1' VISIBLE IN THE BACKGROUND RADAR MAST OF 'EAST-1' INSPECTOR FROM THE COASTGUARD TAKING PICTURES ON BOARD 'EAST-1 INSPECTOR'S FEET WALKING OVER RUSTY EQUIPMENT VARIOUS OF INSPECTOR INSPECTING SHIP VIEW INTO HOLD CREW MEMBER WALKING DOWN STAIRS INTO HOLD WATER TANKS ON BOARD 'EAST-1' CRABS IN WATER TANK
- Embargoed: 10th November 2008 12:00
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement,Environment / Natural World
- Reuters ID: LVA3YRLWD308FBOZNFYVX6MYAT2O
- Story Text: Russian smugglers on a Cambodian-registered ship are caught with crabs destined for the Asian market.
Russian coastguards recently seized tons of live crabs off the coast of Kamchatka in the Far East, which they say were illegally poached to be smuggled abroad for sale in Asia.
The coastguard patrol said they detained the 'East-1' schooner, registered in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, inside the so-called 'Russian Economic Zone' off the far Eastern coast. The coastguard authorities escorted the ship back to the Avacha Bay off the Kamchatka coast, where the crew awaits the results of an ongoing investigation.
"After two hours of surveillance, the 'East-1' was detained at the edge of the embargoed Russian economic zone, by the coastguards' patrol ship 'Dzerzhinsky'," said Andrei Orlov, spokesman for the Russian Northeast Border Coastguard. "Our on-board inspection revealed 26,000 Kamchatka crab specimens on board, kept alive in special tanks. If you take the weight of a crab as one and a half to two kilograms each, this makes a total of about 55-56 tons of live crabs, destined for transport abroad."
The mostly Russian crew of the 'East-1' maintain they were not fishing illegally.
"We fish in the Sea of Japan and the Japanese patrols never detain us, we just get on with it. It's the same in the Yellow Sea off China. But here they just do what they like," said the ship's Third Mate Oleg Vernivek. "Where were we? Ask the coastguards where we were - we were outside the Russian economic zone, but they detained us anyway."
The incentive for illegal fishing is high. A crab fisherman can make 1,000 U.S. dollars a week which is a lot more than the average 200-300 U.S dollars a week that is the average local wage. The Kamchatka crabs sell for 18-20 U.S. dollars per kilo in South Korea - the most lucrative and preferred market - and for 10-12 USD dollars in Japan.
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