(Yicai Global) July 23 -- Spanish authorities have captured hundreds of Chinese hairy crabs in the country's capital Madrid, because the savored delicacy in the Chinese cuisine is considered an invasive species abroad.
The police found some 500 mitten crabs in a Chinese-operated warehouse in the suburbs of Madrid, local Chinese-language news outlet Ouhua Bao reported. Global green group the International Union for Conservation of Nature has included the animal on the list of 100 invasive species that could harm the local flora and fauna when sent overseas.
The police first found 10 kilograms of hairy crabs in a truck which led them to discover a storage room with 80 more kilograms. The crabs were expropriated and the Chinese operators were questioned.
The report did not disclose the planned destination for the produce but one likely guess is the growing number of Chinese tourists in Spain. Last year, between 500,000 and 600,000 Chinese travelers visited the southern European country, and it is expected that this number will reach 1 million by 2020, according to Madrid-based tourism marketing firm Travel Consul.
This is not the first hairy crab investigation in Spain. On June 22, four Chinese supermarkets in Usera in Spain were investigated for selling such seafood. The police confiscated 2,000 hairy crabs at that time.
The highly anticipated mitten crab season runs from Oct. to Dec. in eastern China, and last year Alibaba Group Holding's e-commerce platform Tmall answered the demand by bringing vending machines in Shanghai, selling the hairy creatures with a weight of about 100 grams for CNY15 (USD2.25) each.
Editor: Emmi Laine