Two people have been busted trying to smuggle more than 120 live fish into Australia.
The pair were intercepted at Melbourne International Airport following a joint operation by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and the Australian Border Force.
It’s understood the two passengers were selected for a baggage inspection when they touched down at the airport, with officers soon uncovering the live fish in a number of plastic bags that were filled with water and concealed within their checked-in baggage.
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The animals were seized by authorities and are currently undergoing further testing to confirm their species.
Head of Biosecurity, Lyn O’Connell, said the importation of the fish could have had huge ramifications.
“Live fish can carry and transmit parasites, bacteria and viruses that could affect our native aquatic wildlife, and our $3 billion fishing and aquaculture industries,” she said.
“They may also be considered a biosecurity pest and be damaging to our unique aquatic environments and ecosystems.”
Australian Border Force Regional Commander for Victoria Craig Palmer praised the ABF and Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment for their work to combat wildlife-related crime.
“Smuggling live animals in packages is not just illegal, it’s cruel and inhumane. Many animals smuggled in this way do not survive,” Commander Palmer said.
The case is currently subject to an ongoing investigation by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.