LIMA – Some 25,000 sea horses and thousands of shark fins worth some $200,000 were seized in Lima as they were about to be shipped illegally to Japan, Peru’s Production Ministry said.
The alarm was sounded Wednesday, when during a routine operation in customs several packs of dehydrated sea horses were found in a shipment headed for the Asian country.
Once informed of the find, Peruvian police launched an operation that ended Thursday in a warehouse at the port of Callao near the Lima international airport, where the entire illegal shipment was discovered.
“We have verified that some 25,000 sea horses were stored in the warehouse, the property of a Chinese national,” Peruvian Production Minister Jorge Villasante said on Peru’s RPP radio.
The sea horses were found packed in 51 boxes wrapped in plastic and ready to be sent to Japan, where they are prized for their supposed energizing and aphrodisiac qualities.
The high prices these fish bring in Asian countries led at one time to their being caught indiscriminately off the Peruvian coast, which prompted the government to ban that activity beginning in August 2004. EFE