CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Authorities with U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the Port of Cincinnati have intercepted 51 shipments of mitten crabs over the last four months, according to CBP.
That’s a lot of crab —3,400 lbs. of it.
Mitten crabs are a seasonal delicacy in Asia, according to CBP, and go stateside for about $50 a pop.
They’re also an invasive species, CBP says, and they’re a “disastrous” problem across the United States—from California waterways to the Chesapeake Bay to the Hudson River.
It’s illegal to import mitten crabs into the U.S. without a proper license.
That doesn’t stop the mitten crab trade, which traffics the crustaceans illegally from Asia through U.S. international express, mail facilities and places like the Port of Cincinnati.
The 51 shipments intercepted by CBP were reportedly destined for homes and businesses in multiple U.S. states, with most headed to New York. CBP says they were falsely manifested as tools and clothing.
The live crabs were referred to U.S. Fish and Wildlife inspectors onsite.
“As a unified border agency, CBP is committed to a fully integrated approach toward international security,” Cincinnati CBP Supervisory Agriculture Specialist Barbara Hassan said. “In this case, we worked closely with FWS to stop a serious threat to our economy and ecology.”
The intercepted shipments, totaling 3,700 crabs, join around 11,000 other crabs refused entry into the U.S. since September.
CBP says the Port of Cincinnati saw the highest volume of the smuggled crustaceans, with the second-largest coming through Los Angeles.