U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists in Cincinnati discovered hundreds of pounds of invasive Chinese mitten crabs on October 16 while conducting routine inspection operations at a local express consignment facility.
During examinations of incoming Chinese freight, specialists noted x-ray anomalies in 16 separate shipments, all which were labeled as various types of clothing. Once the specialists opened the boxes they found thousands of live crustaceans, all destined for residences in New York.
In Asia, mitten crabs are considered a seasonal delicacy; however, their disastrous impact on other global habitats has earned them a place on the Invasive Species Specialist Group’s list of “100 of the World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species.”
“Our agriculture specialists and officers work closely with other federal agencies to protect our natural resources,” said CBP Supervisory Agriculture Specialist Barbara Hassan. “In this case, cooperative efforts with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) prevented the introduction of a highly invasive and destructive species into our ecosystem.”
Per FWS regulations all shipments were refused entry into the United States and all violations are currently under review.
Nationwide, CBP agriculture specialists intercepted more than 352 pests and 4,638 quarantine materials on any given day in Fiscal Year 2017.