Large batch of trepang seized from foreign poachers

In Primorye, police and border guards have conducted a joint operation and seized 6,800 sea trepangs, 4 diving suits and 3 boat engines from foreign poachers, reported the press center of the Federal Frontier Service's Pacific Regional Department on Wednesday.

Four Chinese and one Tajik lived illegally in a wagon on the territory of the holiday home Brigantina, which is being built by the Vostok Gulf. Fishnets and huge vats, the usual gear used to catch and cook trepang -- an invertebrate mollusc that goes as a delicacy in Asian cuisine and as valuable raw material in Oriental medicine -- were found in the woods 200 meters away from the shore.

Now that weather in Primorye has improved, Chinese poachers have visibly stepped up their activity. A few days ago in Nakhodka, border guards and police exposed an illegal base that fished and cooked trepang, the mollusc that they sometimes call "the sea ginseng." On the Chinese black market, 1 kg of dried trepang costs between 75 and 100 dollars, while the price of trepang dishes in elite restaurants reaches 200 dollars. Chinese poachers often travel to Primorye to hunt for the precious mollusc. Over the past 15 years, dozens of international poaching gangs settled down in Primorye to supply trepang to restaurants in China, Siangan and Taiwan.