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BATAM, RIAU ISLANDS — An Indonesian minister has called on Singapore authorities to reject illegal shipments of lobster larvae, according to the country’s newspaper The Jakarta Post.
Singapore should stop shipments of lobster larvae that do not have health certificates issued by Indonesia’s Quarantine Management System (QMS), said the country’s Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti in a press conference held in Batam, Riau Islands, on Monday (15 July).
“The lobster larvae are smuggled into Singapore and then they are exported to Vietnam. We want the Singapore government to reject (the commodity),” added Susi, according to the media report.
“Singapore should not have allowed live animals without health certificates into the country. How can Singapore’s quarantine office allow them to enter?”
According to her, Indonesian authorities have thwarted efforts to smuggle some 3.16 million lobster seeds estimated to be worth 474.4 billion rupiah (S$46.2 million) in 39 separate cases from January to July.
She explained that illegal lobster larvae are caught by fishermen who used light traps and sold for 10,000 to 50,000 (S$0.97 to S$4.87) rupiah per larvae.
“In Singapore, the price could reach hundreds of thousands of rupiah. When they are larger, they could cost millions (of rupiah) each,” she added.
The minister added that she would meet with the Singapore ambassador in Jakarta to talk about the issue.
Yahoo News Singapore has reached out to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority and the Singapore Food Agency for a response to the report.
Singaporean suspect arrested
Her comments came less than a week after Indonesian authorities thwarted a smuggling attempt of lobster larvae from Batam to Singapore, according to The Jakarta Post.
Last Thursday, the authorities confiscated over 366,000 lobster larvae estimated to be worth 56.3 billion rupiah (S$5.5 million) and stopped an attempt to illegally transport of 570,000 lobster larvae estimated to be worth 87 billion rupiah (S$8.5 million).
Earlier this month, four suspected smugglers, including a 29-year-old Singaporean man, were arrested by Indonesian police for attempting to smuggle over 113,400 lobster larvae, estimated to be worth 17 billion rupiah (S$1.7 million), from Indonesia to Vietnam through Singapore.
The men, who are suspected members of a syndicate, were arrested separately in Jambi and Batam in Riau Islands on 3 July, according to Indonesian media reports.
The Singaporean suspect is believed to be a buyer of the larvae, while the remaining trio had allegedly acted as the middlemen in the transaction.
If convicted in Indonesia, the suspects face at least six years in jail and a fine of up to 1.5 billion rupiah (S$145,600).
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