JAKARTA, May 3 (Xinhua) -- Indonesian policemen, who have been hunting smugglers of protected lobster seeds, have foiled the transport of the species to overseas from Jambi province, a police officer said on Sunday.
Director of Jambi province's Water Police Senior Commissioner Budi Winova said the police seized over 30,000 lobster seeds which would be smuggled, and several people believed to be the smugglers escaped.
"Now we are hunting down the alleged owners of the lobster seeds," he said.
The officer said 30,431 lobster seeds and 231 pearl lobster seeds were seized by the water policemen in Kota Baru sub-district, Jambi, during the operation.
The police have been carrying out an investigation to track down the mastermind of the illegal act.
Winova said all the seized lobster seeds are valued at about 4 billion rupiahs (some 272,000 U.S. dollars), a huge amount according to the local standard, and they would be returned to the nature, local media reported.
To preserve the population of lobster seeds, the Indonesian law prohibits poaching and trade of the rare species.
Indonesia is known as one of the most species-rich countries as its vast maritime territory is home to numerous species. Enditem