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Thousands of baby eels found in suitcases at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport

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By Euronews
The baby eels were found in eight separate suitcases on Monday.
The baby eels were found in eight separate suitcases on Monday.   -   Copyright  Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority

Dutch authorities have seized thousands of baby eels that were discovered in luggage at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport.

Around 300,000 of them were found in small water bags inside eight identical red suitcases on Monday.

The eels had been brought into the country by two men and a woman from Malaysia, travelling in transit to Portugal.

The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) confirmed in a statement that the three passengers had been arrested.

"The suspects' luggage attracted the attention of Schiphol security employees," the authority said on Thursday.

"The alerted Customs officers found bags filled with water and small eels in 8 suitcases ... Inspectors from the NVWA found that a total of 105 kilos of glass eel were in the suitcases."

The animals were confiscated and released in Dutch waters, the authority added.

Eels are a protected species and their export is subject to strict rules due to black market poaching. The estimated annual value of illegal trafficking in European glass eels to Asia is estimated at €3 billion.

In 2010, the European Union banned all exports of glass eels outside its borders.

Additional sources • AFP