Pet store fined $35K after company admits it imported endangered fish from Malaysia

Written by on September 27, 2019 in Critter MIA, Rare Critters - No comments

A Toronto pet store has been fined $35,000 after an employee imported live fish from Malaysia of an endangered species.

In December of 2018,  the Magical Aquarium Club in Toronto brought in 26 live Asian arowana fish. The species is controlled because it is listed as endangered and two permits are required to legally import specimens.

One permit from the country of export is needed and one from Canada, the country of import. The company did not obtain an import permit. The Court also ordered the arowanas be forfeited to the Crown.

Global wildlife crime, including poaching, smuggling, and trafficking of animals and plants, is estimated to be worth over US$155 billion per year, making it the world’s fourth most lucrative form of crime.

Asian arowanas are native to Southeast Asia and, in the wild, inhabit rivers in forested swamps and wetlands. The species is farmed in some countries. The fish are sought after for use in the pet trade and are considered by some cultures to bring good fortune.

CITES appendix I listed species include all species threatened with extinction that are or may be affected by trade. Trade in specimens of these species must be subject to particularly strict regulation in order not to further endanger their survival and must only be authorized in exceptional circumstances.

More than 180 countries, including Canada, have signed the CITES agreement and are working together to protect the world’s most threatened species.

Amazon lists places where the fish can be purchased. The New York Post reports the Asian arowana can sell for as much as $300,000. The fish, in Chinese, is known as the dragon fish, lóng yú, and can, when grown reach the length of a samarai sword.

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