Government fisheries inspectors have seized an illegal shipment of live carp at Dover and a Kent man has been reported to the authorities.
Inspectors from the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) said that the man from Thamesmead illegally imported a tonne of carp into the UK from an unknown location in France earlier this month.
HM Customs officers, assisted by State Veterinary Service (SVS) officials, intercepted a hire van at the port after noticing that it was sitting low on its axles due to heavy load, and found a large number of fish onboard. Some of the carp, which averaged 6 kg/13 lbs in weight, were dead and others were in poor condition as gas cylinders supplying the fish with oxygen were not working.
The fish were all humanely destroyed and samples were taken to Cefas' Weymouth laboratory to determine whether they were carrying any diseases.
Steve Maidment of Cefas told Practical Fishkeeping, "It's surprising that with so much good work having been done in recent years by people across the industry, anglers, and the authorities that people are still prepared to risk destroying it all by trying to bring in potentially diseased smuggled fish.
"It's even more surprising that there are still people out there who know what is going on and fail to do anything about it. I have a strong suspicion where these fish were destined for, but I cannot say more.
"Although fish smuggling has been significantly reduced in recent years there is still a very small minority of individuals who are prepared to risk the spread of serious fish disease for their own selfish interests."
It seems likely that the carp shipment was intended for stocking a coarse fishery.