German authorities are concerned that aquarium fish suppliers are smuggling illegal genetically modified fluorescent ornamental fish into the country.
According to a report from Spiegel Online International, GM Zebra danios were recently found on sale at a specialist aquarium fish retailer in Kiel, northern Germany.
Schleswig-Holstein Ministry of Agriculture officials confirmed that the fish were genetically modified. Christian Seyfert told the German news agency DPA that dealers at an ornamental fish show had tried to sell the fish, but had been banned from the event and were reported to the district veterinary office.
Seyfert said that the GM fish had been smuggled into Germany via Poland, but probably came from exporters in Asia.
Spiegel Online International says that German suppliers illegally trading in the fish face fines of up to 50,000 Euros and prison sentences of up to five years.
Genetically modified fish are also illegal in the UK.
Practical Fishkeeping exclusively reported last week that UK authorities had also become concerned about the presence of suspected GM fish being sold in the UK aquarium trade, after reports we published last year indicating that the Red danios currently on sale may be genetically modified or dyed.
DEFRA has requested that importers voluntarily stop importing Red danios, or other recently available fluorescent danio varieties.
Anyone importing the fish during the period in which imports are suspended could leave themselves open to prosecution if the fish are later confirmed to be genetically modified.