Officials at the UK’s Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI) have received tip-offs that a substantial number of large carp, currently being offered for sale in the UK, could be smuggled into the country over the next two weeks. They may also have been illegally imported already.

 

A number of sources have led the inspectors to believe that up to 200 live large carp – weighing between 20 and 60 lbs – may already be somewhere in Kent. It is not known from where the fish originate, or how they have come to be on the market now in such large numbers. Port officials have been warned to be on the look out for consignments of live fish entering the country over the Christmas period.

 

Anyone being offered large carp should check very carefully the source and health certification of the fish before they consider their purchase. Smuggled fish represent a significant risk of disease to indigenous fish. For example, smuggled fish have previously been found to be suffering from Spring Viraemia of Carp (SVC), a serious and fatal disease.

 

Potential buyers or others who are approached should contact the FHI, which is based at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science in Weymouth, or their local Environment Agency office. Officials will be able to check if the fish have been legally imported and that they do not pose a health risk to other UK fish. The relevant hotline numbers for help are:

The Fish Health Inspectorate: 01305 206681

The Environment Agency: 0800 807060.

 


 

 

Notes to editors

 

1. The Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI) is dedicated to maintaining and improving fish and shellfish health in England and Wales. It undertakes statutory and inspection duties resulting from EU and other national legislation. It also licenses and monitors the import of fish and shellfish from other countries and runs an enforcement programme aimed at preventing the illegal importation of these animals. For more information about this work see www.cefas.co.uk/fhi/default.htm.

 

2. Stopping the illegal importation of live freshwater fish into Great Britain plays a large part in preventing the spread of serious fish diseases. Illegal trading is damaging, not only in fish health terms but also in its potential environmental and ecological impact.

 

3. The Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) is an internationally renowned scientific research and advisory establishment, based at Lowestoft since 1902. It also has laboratories at Burnham-on-Crouch and Weymouth, and a number of other facilities around the UK. It became an executive agency of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in 1997.

 

4. CEFAS undertakes work on fisheries management, environmental protection and aquaculture. It offers a wide range of research, advisory, consultancy, monitoring and training activities to government departments (UK and foreign, central and local), international agencies, commercial companies and aid organisations. For more details see www.cefas.co.uk/.

 

5. The Environment Agency has a wide range of information available about fish and their management. For more details about their work see www.environment-agency.gov.uk/subjects/fish/?version=1&lang=_e.

 

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