A 34-year-old man has been arrested at Adelaide Airport after Australian Border Force (ABF) officers stopped him allegedly trying to import a live fish, hanging in a bag around his neck.
The Vietnamese national was selected for a baggage examination after arriving into Adelaide off a flight from Malaysia.
During the course of the examination, the man was subject to a frisk search. When this search commenced, the man produced the bag containing the fish.
The fish was referred to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources for identification and to assess the biosecurity risk. It was determined to be an endangered “Fully Red Asian Arowana”, the trade of which is controlled under the international Convention in Trade of Endangered Species, to which Australia is a signatory.
The fish had to be humanely euthanised, as illegal imports of exotic animals can introduce serious pests and diseases that pose a significant biosecurity risk to Australia.
ABF officers arrested the man. He was subsequently granted bail to appear before the Magistrates Court on Wednesday 15 May.
ABF Chief Superintendent, Regional Command SA, Brett Liebich said the ABF will do everything in its power to disrupt and deter the illegal trade of animals.
“The ABF is committed to stopping the trade in rare animals and protecting our delicate natural wildlife from the potentially devastating impact of foreign diseases and predators,” Chief Superintendent Liebich said
“The ABF takes the illegal wildlife trade seriously and we will continue to work collaboratively with our partners to detect, disrupt and deter illegal activity at our borders.”
The maximum penalty for wildlife trade offences under Australian law is 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $210,000 for individuals or up to $1,050,000 for corporations.
People with information about the attempted illegal import of wildlife or who notice any suspicious border related activity should contact Border Watch at Australia.gov.au/borderwatch .