|Snakehead (Associated Press)|
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the filing of felony charges in the Town of Amherst Court against Muk Leung “Jim” Ip, a Canadian-based pet dealer whose operation smuggled and exported invasive and endangered species into the U.S.
The 49-year-old Ontario man was charged with two felony counts and one misdemeanor count of Illegal Commercialization of Fish, Shellfish, Crustaceans, and Wildlife. The fish in question: the invasive beastie known as the Snakehead, and a cuddly protected amphibian, Axolotls.
From AG’s Press Release:
Snakeheads are highly invasive and have the potential to disrupt recreational fishing, harm native fish and wildlife, and impact our economy. New York State prohibits the possession, sale and live transport of Snakehead fish. Importation and interstate transport of Snakeheads is prohibited under the federal Lacey Act. Northern snakeheads are dangerous predators capable of growing to at least three feet long and surviving throughout the continental United States in a variety of habitats. With teeth similar to pike and walleye fish, they are superb predators and they feed voraciously.
. . .
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens said, “International smuggling of invasive and endangered species in to New York State is a major concern to the health of our natural ecosystems. If released into the wild, the species targeted in this undercover operation could have caused significant environmental damage to our native species. Since smugglers do not recognize jurisdictional boundaries, it is only through cooperative efforts involving partnering law enforcement and conservation agencies that we can enforce wildlife laws across national and international borders to protect our ecosystems.”