Fish smuggler gets community service


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An Australian woman who was caught smuggling over 50 live tropical fish out of Singapore in her skirt has been sentenced.

Sharon Naismith, 45, pleaded guilty to attempting to import regulated wildlife at Melbourne Country Court. She was sentenced to nine months of community service, says a report from The Australian.

Customs officers at Melbourne Airport caught the woman after they heard flapping sounds coming from beneath her skirt.

Underneath the skirt they found a purpose-built apron containing 15 water-filled fish bags and a total of 51 tropical freshwater fish.

The fish, which included the undescribed Queen arabesque peckoltia, several botiine loaches, including Botia kubotai, and a $30,000 arowana, had been obtained in Singapore.

When Customs officers searched Naismith's house they found five more fish.

Doug Nicoll, the acting manager of investigations at Australian Customs, told The Australian: "Wildlife smuggling is a cruel practice, a many offenders ignore the health and wellbeing of the animals.

"Such animals can also be potential carriers of disease and harm the Australian fish industry."

The woman could have faced fines of up to $110,000 (41,800) or a prison sentence of up to 10 years.