AROUND 30,000 pieces of shells confiscated by the Cebu Anti-Illegal Fishing Task Force last June 25 is worth P2 million here, but “hundreds of millions” once it gets out of the country, said its head Loy Madrigal.

After an inventory, Madrigal said there are 3,249 helmet shells, 970 trumpet shells and 25,615 smooth top shells or a total of 29,834 pieces of endangered shells.

Madrigal said the helmet, trumpet and smooth top shells, in their state, cost P 2 million in all. But once it is processed and exported outside the country, each of these helmet and trumpet shell could sell $5,000 each, Madrigal said.

Madrigal is yet to file a case of violation of the Fisheries Code of 1998 against the suspects, who are now detained in one of the rooms in Capitol, for transporting endangered shells.

The truckload of shells, the size of a 40-footer van with a mark “Fish Dealer,” was intercepted last Wednesday in Minglanilla. The driver Ronnel Tumakas, 32, and his superior Delfin Jacosalem, 45, were arrested and detained.

This, after Madrigal discovered its cargo full of endangered Cassis Cornuta or horned helmet shell and Charonia tritonis or trumpet shell.

Transport and possession of these shells makes one liable for violating Sec 97 of Republic Act 8550 or Fisheries Code of 1998, said Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resource (BFAR) Commercial Licensing Officer Auster Cabangbang.

He said violation carries the penalty of P120,000 and imprisonment of from 12 to 20 years.