Claw deal: Mystery of the Israeli lobster smuggler

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Claw deal: Mystery of the Israeli lobster smuggler

Israel's agriculture ministry launches an inquiry after man allegedly made it out of Ben Gurion Airport with 300 baby lobsters and flew to Scotland

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Lobsters  (Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash)
Lobsters (Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash)

Mystery surrounds the fate of an Israeli man who flew from Scotland to Israel with more than 300 baby lobsters in his luggage.

The man, who allegedly made it out of Ben-Gurion Airport without being stopped by security officials, was only caught after he was found with the lobsters — and staff from Israel’s Ministry of Agriculture launched an inquiry as to where the lobsters had come from, and why he did not possess an import licence.

Dr Nadav Davidovich, from the Ministry’s veterinary services, said: “It is important to emphasise that import of animals is subject to licensing and full compliance with its conditions.

“This is a necessary procedure, through which freedom from disease can be guaranteed, without fear of harm being done to the wildlife population in Israel and in breeding farms.”

The lobsters had not been tested for disease before being smuggled into Israel, which has a small but healthy export business of the crustaceans to European countries.

Israeli law complies with guidelines set by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), ensuring that animals must be tested for several diseases when brought from overseas and results must be disclosed. Israel is generally free of most diseases listed by the OIE, but there was concern that the Scottish lobsters could have adversely infected the local lobster population, rendering them useless for sale.

But there are no reports of what happened to the would-be lobster smuggler — or, indeed, the lobsters themselves.

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