Corals, shells bound for Korea seized

By Carine M. Asutilla, ABS-CBN News Central Visayas

Posted at Apr 18 2011 10:18 PM | Updated as of Apr 19 2011 07:08 AM

LAPU-LAPU, Philippines - Police on Monday confiscated P1-million worth of processed and ready-to-export corals and shells in 2 shanties in Sitio Malingin, Barangay Punta Engaño in Lapu-Lapu City.

City police chief Senior Supt. Anthony Obenza said they received reports from an informant regarding a place where hundreds of boxes and sacks of corals and shells are being kept.

He said that when police came to the area, the shanties were already abandoned.

Barangay officials, however, identified the owner of the shanties. Police are still verifying the information given by village leaders.

Obenza said the processed shells and corals were set for export to South Korea.

He said most corals and shell products coming from Cebu are usually exported to the Asian country.

Nathaniel Lucero, aquaculturist from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, said the shells mostly identified as “tacobo” and the corals recovered are all endangered species.

He said that the law prohibits people from taking them out of the ocean and selling them.

The confiscated items will be turned over to Lapu-Lapu City Police for safekeeping.

The items will be used as evidence when a case is filed against the owner of the shells and corals.

Some of the items will probably be sent to academic institutions for use in studies.

Other items may also be brought back to the ocean as they can be used as habitat by some organisms.