Canadian Seafood Supplier Smuggled Florida Turtles
In this week’s crime blotter, getting to the bottom of a Canadian turtle import case.
Florida softshell turtles grow up to two-feet long and look a bit like pancakes, with their flat carapace that’s cloaked in leathery skin. These freshwater turtles are prized for their meat, especially in Asia. “Tastes better than steak,” Tim Thomas, a turtle breeder from Florida, told the Tampa Bay Times in 2008.
People were plucking so many of them from rivers and ponds that in 2009 Florida banned commercial harvesting of all freshwater turtles—including softshells (with limited exceptions). But a businessman based in Toronto, Canada, still found a way to import them, which violated Canadian law.
Last month a Canadian court ordered Jie Hua Shen, owner of Marine Seafood Inc., to pay $25,000 for smuggling softshell turtles after he