A Ministry for Primary Industries quarantine officer was shocked to discover 8 very large crabs were still alive when he removed them from an international passenger’s chilly bin.
The passenger had purchased the crabs from a local market in Samoa and declared them as food upon arriving at Auckland Airport earlier this month.
"They were individually wrapped in thin plastic. The officer emptied the chilly bin and noticed one of the bundles move. Upon opening the wrapping, he found the crabs were bound in twine and were very much alive," says Craig Hughes, MPI Border Clearance Manager.
Mr Hughes says it is forbidden to bring live marine products into New Zealand for consumption.
"The crabs could have been released into New Zealand waterways. They could have harmed local marine life and introduced unwanted diseases – so we’re talking about a very real biosecurity threat."
He says MPI often sees dead crabs coming through the border, but live ones are fairly unusual.
"The good thing here is the passenger declared the crabs, saving herself a fine and doing her bit to help protect New Zealand’s economy and environment."
The crabs were humanely euthanised.