POLICE have arrested 48 people alleged of smuggling 4,000 kilos of endangered eels out of Europe.
The probe began in 2016 after a study conducted by the California Academy of Sciences revealed that the Anguilla anguilla eel species had suffered a 90 per cent decline since 1980. The destruction of its natural habitats and illegal fishing are the main causes of the plummet.
For the preservation of the species, the European Union has banned trade outside Europe. The Guardia Civil’s environmental division Seprona said that over 10 tonnes of the recovered eels worth an estimated €10 million would have been illegally exported to China.
Following the success of the trafficking crackdown in 2016, officially named operation ABAIA, officials have announced they expect Holland and Sweden to join their 2017-2018 campaign.