$75K in fines levied for importing live Asian carp

bigcarpA trucker and the Edmonton company he worked for were fined $75,000 in court Thursday for bringing live Asian carp into Canada.

Alltheway Trucking , based in Edmonton, was fined $70,000 and driver Yong-Sheng Zhang of Markham, Ont., was fined $5,000 for twice bringing the invasive species over the Ambassador Bridge.

A truck from Alltheway Trucking entered Canada at the Ambassador Bridge on Jan. 25, 2012, carrying grass and bighead carp from the state of Arkansas. Conservation officers with the Lake Erie Enforcement Unit inspected the truck and found that some of the grass carp were still alive. They subsequently seized all of the fish. (Courtesy of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources)

In January and February 2012, Zhang crossed the bridge with a truckload of fish from Arkansas. The shipments contained grass carp and bighead carp, among other species. Such Asian carp species are legal to import provided they are dead, explained Kevin Sprague, a conservation officer with the Ministry of Natural Resources.

On the days in question, Sprague was called to the border to inspect the load, he testified at a five-day trial held in June. The fish were packed in ice, but some had faint signs of life. Sprague picked out a few of the two Asian carp species and put them into containers of water. Within minutes, they perked up. Court saw the videotapes Sprague took of the fish splashing in the bins.

On the first occasion the prohibited fish found to be live were grass carp. “Zhang was given the opportunity to see the live fish in the bin of water,” said justice of the peace Maureen Ryan-Brode. “That should have served as an alert that a change in his practice was required.

Sarah Sacheli
The Windsor Star
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