Two passengers have been intercepted at Melbourne International Airportattempting to smuggle 122 live fish into Australia.

Head of Biosecurity, Lyn O’Connell, said the seizure was a joint effortbetween the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and theAustralian Border Force (ABF).

“As part of an intelligence-led operation, the two passengers were selectedfor a baggage inspection when they arrived at Melbourne Airport,”
Ms O’Connell said.

“The live fish were not declared by the passengers, they were discovered in anumber of plastic bags that were filled with water and concealed within theirchecked-in baggage.

“Live fish can carry and transmit parasites, bacteria and viruses that couldaffect our native aquatic wildlife, and our $3 billion fishing and aquacultureindustries.

“They may also be considered a biosecurity pest and be damaging to our uniqueaquatic environments and ecosystems.”

Australian Border Force Regional Commander for Victoria Craig Palmer, saidthis seizure is a great example of how the ABF and Department of Agriculture,Water and the Environment work together to combat wildlife-related crime.

“Smuggling live animals in packages is not just illegal, it’s cruel andinhumane. Many animals smuggled in this way do not survive,” Commander Palmersaid.

The case is currently subject to an ongoing investigation by the Department ofAgriculture, Water and the Environment.

Further information will be available when the investigation is finalised.

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