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Christmas dinner Carp Seized At Dover

UK - UK Border Agency Officers at the Port of Dover, working in conjunction with the governments Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI), seized live carp destined for Christmas menus on two occasions prior to Christmas 2009.

The Inspectorate, based at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science, advises that it is illegal to import live coldwater fish unless from an EU “approved” zone and accompanied by a movement document issued by an authorised veterinary inspector.

In both pre-Christmas incidents the carp were being transported by Eastern European nationals whose paperwork was not in order.

On 16 December 2009 a white Ford Transit van was intercepted as it entered the Port, having travelled through France from the Czech Republic. Upon examination the vehicle was found to contain a quantity of foodstuffs, including four live carp.

In a second incident, on 21 December, a white VW van entered the Port from France with a large container of fish. Upon closer examination that consignment was found to contain 130 live carp.

The Eastern European occupants of both vehicles were interviewed and stated that the fish were intended for the “Christmas table”. Follow-up enquiries are continuing in each case with a view to pursuing prosecutions.

The fish were confiscated and, in line with FHI/Defra policy, were subsequently destroyed to ensure that no disease is spread from their possible introduction into UK waters.

Stuart Katon, the FHI’s Enforcement and Investigations Officer said: “We have past experience of Eastern European nationals attempting to import live carp for the table in the run up to Christmas. Some cultures regard carp as a delicacy. Nevertheless, importing fish without the correct documentation remains an illegal act.

“In response to recent incidents we will now be engaging with Eastern European communities based here in the UK to ensure that they are fully aware of the law and their legal responsibilities.”

More information about the importation of live fish may be found by visiting www.efishbusiness.co.uk/imports/default.asp. Or contact the Fish Health Inspectorate directly on 01305 206700 / fhi@cefas.co.uk.

the Fish Site Editor

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