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Mitten Crabs Seized at Local Express Consignment Facility

Hundreds of pounds of invasive Chinese mitten crabs were seized recently at a local express consignment facility.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists discovered the animals on October 16 while conducting a routine inspection.

It is the third such interception of mitten crabs by the agency's Chicago field office in the past month.

According to a news release, during examinations of incoming Chinese freight, specialists noted x-ray anomalies in 16 separate shipments, all of 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,” the agency said in a news release.  

“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.

-Staff report

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