"The young lobsters were confiscated during three raids on the same day by the Jambi Marine Police," Director of the Jambi Marine Police Senior Commissioner Fauzi Bakti remarked here on Wednesday.
During its first raid on Monday (May 13) at 1 a.m. local time in the Nibung Putih area of Tanjungjabung Timur District, the police confiscated a car and eight styrofoam boxes filled with 46,500 lobster seeds to be smuggled to Singapore via Indonesia's Jambi province and Batam municipality in Riau islands province.
At around 10.55 a.m. local time, the police seized two cars and 13 styrofoam boxes of lobster seeds in the Nipah Panjang area, Tanjungjabung Timur District.
On the basis of further investigation, the police raided a house located on Sari Bakti Street of Jambi City at 7:30 p.m. local time and confiscated 11 boxes of 81 thousand lobster seeds.
The authority has also arrested six suspects, one of them being a Chinese, identified as KH, and five Indonesians identified as LC, HR, ZI, PA, and AI.
"We have confiscated 31 boxes containing 205,370 lobster seeds valued at some Rp30.8 billion," Bakti confirmed.
The juvenile lobsters were allegedly transported from Java Island and collected temporarily in Jambi prior to the plan to smuggle them through the Jambi eastern coast to Batam and Singapore.
The seized consignment of lobsters will be handed over to Jambi's Marine and Fisheries Affairs Office to be released into the Pieh Island conservation area in Padang Pariaman District of West Sumatra.
The suspects are under detention at the Jambi Marine Police headquarters, pending further legal proceedings. They will face a maximum six-year prison term and be fined Rp1.5 billion.
Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Regulation No. 56 of 2016 bans the catching of crab and lobster seeds, weighing 200 grams and less, as well as lobster hatchings.
Being located close to Singapore, Jambi has become a hotbed for lobster smuggling activities.
The baby lobster population tends to peak in April, May, and June, as lobsters spawn during that period.
Moreover, the authority has remained vigilant to stop lobster smuggling via land route, during which boxes filled with lobster seeds are concealed among other packages of fruits and basic items. The lobster consignment will then be shipped aboard a speedboat for being smuggled to neighboring nations.
In 2019, the police had seized some 1.6 million lobster seeds valued at some Rp260 billion.