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Gety (File photo) / Mozambique is famous for its prawns
An illegal Chinese company has been discovered exporting prawns from Mozambique.
The fisheries authorities in the central province of Sofala say they have seized almost a tonne of top quality tiger and queen prawns from the firm.
Also seized 80kg of processed crabs from Nova Praia in the port city of Beira.
The produce was being packaged in freezers for export by Chinese nationals, Carlos Sindela, the provincial director of fisheries, said.
They refused to talk to the media, saying the owner of the business was away in China.
The illegal firm was using the site of a former fisheries firm that went bankrupt.
In the last decade, fishing companies have been hit first by the collapse in the price of prawns and also by the increase in fuel prices.
In addition, the government has restricted the amount companies can catch because prawn fishing was reaching it exploitation limits.
About 11 companies have gone bust in recent times.
According to Mr Sindela, the Chinese firm was not registered, which meant it was not paying tax:
“The owners of the fake Chinese company had no documentation, at all.”
He added that the alleged criminals would be duly penalised, which is likely to involve a heavy fine.