Israeli smuggles 330 lobsters into Israel from Scotland without license

The man, who did not possess an appropriate license, managed to smuggle the 330 lobsters into the country by cramming them into his suitcase.

 A European lobster (Hommarus gammarus) is pictured in a breeding station at the Alfred-Wegener institute (AWI) on the German island of Heligoland, about 46 kilometres away from German coastline, April 30, 2013 (photo credit: REUTERS/FABIAN BIMMER)
A European lobster (Hommarus gammarus) is pictured in a breeding station at the Alfred-Wegener institute (AWI) on the German island of Heligoland, about 46 kilometres away from German coastline, April 30, 2013
(photo credit: REUTERS/FABIAN BIMMER)

Some 330 European lobsters were illegally imported into Israel by an Israeli citizen returning from Scotland on Tuesday.

Israel's Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry stated the man, who did not possess an appropriate license, managed to smuggle the 330 lobsters into the country by cramming them into his suitcase.

Following the capture of the lobsters by ministry inspectors, an investigation into the incident revealed the man did not test the lobsters for any diseases prior to bringing them to Israel.

Israeli law complies with guidelines set by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) that state animals must be tested for several diseases when brought from overseas and results must be disclosed.

One of the diseases the animals needs to get tested for is ichthyophthirius multifiliis, often termed "Ich," a parasitic ciliate that severely affects crustaceans.

 The 330 lobsters smuggled into Israel in a container (credit: AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT MINISTRY) The 330 lobsters smuggled into Israel in a container (credit: AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT MINISTRY)

According to the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry, Israel is free of most diseases listed by the OIE. However, an outbreak of a disease such as the "ich" among crustaceans in Israel could cause great damage to the country's ecosystem and economy.

"To our delight, we managed to minimize any potential damage that could have been caused to Israel's lobster population, which is already at risk," said Dr. Nadav Davidovitch of the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry.

Dr. Davidovitch also noted any import of animals into Israel is subject to possessing an import license issued by the State of Israel.