Philippine quarantine officials on Sunday discovered some two million baby eels hidden in freight at Manila airport thought to be destined for Hong Kong restaurants.
The eels were stored in plastic bags filled with water and hidden in 46 boxes, said Ben Curativo, head of Manila airport's fisheries quarantine division.
The Philippines in May banned the export of elvers, or young eels, after studies showed their numbers were slowly being depleted.
"It was to board an airplane bound for Hong Kong, and we are now tracking down the person behind the shipment," he told AFP.
"We suspect the eel fry would be grown there and once they reach maturity could be served in restaurants. It is a delicacy."
After being caught around the Philippines, eels are usually shipped to Manila for export to other Asian countries, where they are considered an exotic cuisine with aphrodisiac qualities.