October is the traditional start of hairy crab season in the region, and Taiwanese authorities are on the lookout for vendors selling uncertified hairy crabs, also known as Chinese mitten crabs. The crabs are a delicacy in eastern Chinese cuisine, particularly in the Shanghai region, making the shellfish a profitable catch. As the season to eat the crab is short, some suppliers have resorted to illegal means, including counterfeit hairy crabs, to increase supply.
The Coast Guard Administration in Kinmen stopped a fishing vessel suspected of smuggling goods at 1 pm on September 24. Taiwanese authorities found 521.65 kg of hairy crabs, valued at over NT$1 million (US$32,250) on board. The crabs were found in 43 crates, totaling about 3600 crabs. It was the first such seizure this year, UDN reported.
The case was referred to the Kaohsiung Customs Administration for further investigation.
Authorities inspected the vessel in port as goods were being loaded into a van. They seized the untested hairy crabs and brought the ship’s captain and three others in for questioning.
Last year, some companies were found to be importing dioxin-contaminated hairy crabs from China. Since then, Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration has stepped up testing and regulations, but some importers continue to attempt to smuggle untested hairy crabs into the country.
As the island is a short distance from China, Kinmen often faces more smuggling cases than other parts of Taiwan.