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Partnership To Fight Illegal Carp Importing

UK - Cefas Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI) has teamed up with a number of its most influential partners to sponsor a new initiative, with the crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers, that will target the illegal importation of fish and the theft of expensive angling equipment. The project will go live on 17 May 2010.

Crimestoppers operates a telephone number (0800 555 111) and website (www.crimestoppers-uk.org/) to enable people to pass on information about crime anonymously. By providing complete anonymity it is hoped that the angling community will be encouraged to take more responsibility for their sport/business and report illegal activity.

The partnership includes many influential industry organisations, including the FHI, ECHO, the Angling Trust, Cemex, and the Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA).

In recent months there has been increasing intelligence to suggest that organised criminal groups now view the illegal importation of live fish (and in particular carp) as a very lucrative business opportunity with relatively low associated risks. The profit margins are often substantial, with an illegally imported 50lb carp likely to be priced in the region of £20,000.

Stuart Katon, the FHI's Enforcement and Investigations Officer, said: "We must step up our intelligence-led approach towards preventing illegal activity, working closely with other agencies to target organised groups. However in order to be successful we also need the support of the wider angling community."

He continued: "Tell us what you know, use the security and anonymity of Crimestoppers and let us do the rest. We are determined to increase the pace in the fight against illegal importation. So greedy fishery owners and others involved, beware!"

Dave Cording, Crimestoppers' Director of Operations said: "I can assure the angling community that anyone who provides Crimestoppers with information about crime will remain anonymous. Calls and online forms are not traced or recorded and no personal details will be taken. So if you have any information about illegal activity relating to the importation of fish and the theft of angling equipment, pass it on to Crimestoppers to help improve your community."

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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