The officers of the Customs Biodiversity Unit have taken a consignment of a rare species of marine species called 'Thambuwa' into their custody yesterday while attempting to smuggle them out to UK, Customs Director General Maj. Gen. (Rtd.) Vijitha Ravipriya said.
He said 76 varieties marine species were found packed in boxes and were ready to be exported by a SriLankan Airlines flight to London last morning, Mr. Ravipriya said.
Under the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Act, it was prohibited catching, possession, transportation, purchase, sale and export of these marine species.
An Extraordinary Gazette Notification (No. 2014/14) was issued on November 4, 2017, in this regard, he said.
"These fish used to live closely with a small species of cleaner shrimps, which is reported to be listed under endangered species in the country," he said.
"This Thambuwa fish species weighing 6 kg and at grow around six feet long.
These marine species live among the rocks and coral reefs of the sea and could only be caught diving. There is a very popular demand for these in many countries in the European continent and other countries due to its different taste," the Customs DG said.
He said after customs investigations are concluded, the consignment will be destroyed. (T.K.G. Kapila)