13 orcas, that’s are listed in the Endangered list -Red Book (* my correction: transient orcas had been added to regional Red list of Kamchatka in April of 2018) , are prepared to be sold to China illegally.
Greenpease reports that over the past five years 15 of these marine mammals have already been exported China.
Representatives of Rospotrebnadzor (The Federal Service for Supervision for Consumer Rights Protection and Human Well-Being), which issues permits for export, said that they are studying the problem together with the Border control department of Federal Security Service.
Commercial whaling is banned since 1982 when International Whaling Commission adopted a moratorium. The capture of orcas in Russia is permissible solely for educational and scientific purposes. At the same time, the Far Eastern population of transient killer whale was listed in the Red Book of Kamchatka Krai in 2018.
«The dirty capture business of orcas exists under the guise of enlightenment and culture.
Currently, preparations for the export of 13 killer whales from Russia to China are underway. They were caught in 2018, allegedly for educational and cultural purposes, but in fact we are talking about commercial business with enormous profits. You can earn million dollars from one killer whale «- Greenpeace said.
Referring to the database of custom declarations, ecologists say that between 2013 and 2017, 15 killer whales were exported from Russia to China. According to Russian custom declarations, orcas are sold to China for about one million dollars per whale. However, the price on the websites of Chinese aquariums is different — 45 million yuan for one killer whale purchased in Russia, which is about 6.5 million dollars.
«According to some information at least 11 of the 13 orcas are now being held in the adaptation facility in Srednya Bay near the city of Nakhodka,» Greenpeace said.
Lease, not sale
The acting head of Rosprirodnadzor, Amirkhan Amirkhanov, confirmed that organizations that requested permits for capture for cultural and educational purposes may submit a request for the export of marine mammals abroad. At the same time, animals are not formally sold to Chinese aquariums, but actually leased.
“This is a very peculiar form. We study this problem. Since the Coast Guard of the Border Control is obliged to monitor the capture of bioresources at sea, the guards have requested materials from us, so we will send them copies for review.
Common approach will be developed possibly, as far as it is economically feasible and legally correct, » Amirkhanov said.
Orca capture business had repeatedly attracted the attention of law enforcement. In June 2018, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office opened criminal investigation and prosecution of companies involved in illegal sale of seven killer whales to China.
«It was established that in 2012-2015 four commercial organizations provided false information to the Russian Federal Fisheries Agency about their intention to use orcas in cultural and educational activities. On this basis, they were given permission to capture more than 10 individuals,» the supervisory agency said in a statement.
According to customs documents, the cost of one orca was 77 million rubles, and the total amount of damage caused to the state exceeds 270 million rubles, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office notes.