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Smugglers from China bringing in invasive crabs into U.S. for huge profit

PortandTerminal.com, January 24, 2020

Cincinnati, OH – Around 3,700 mitten crabs have been seized as they landed in Cincinnati over the past four months. They’re smuggled from China and Hong Kong into the U.S. to feed the local market of people who consider then a delicacy.

Chinese mitten crab bound in red and white twine
3,700 mitten crabs have been seized as they landed in Cincinnati over the past four months

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists intercepted the crabs over 51 shipments. They were ultimately headed to a number of states, although CBP says most were going to New York. The crabs sell for $50 per crab in the U.S.

READ: China caught smuggling pork in unrefrigerated containers into America

Mitten crabs are banned in the U.S. because they’re on the list of worst invasive alien species. Chinese mitten crab can eat salmon, trout and sturgeon eggs and threaten successful spawning of these species. They also have been known to damage fish habitats by causing extensive riverbank erosion because of their burrowing activities.

Cincinnati saw most of the crabs being smuggled into the country. The second-largest amount came through Los Angeles.

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