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California arapaima smuggling ring stopped

Discussion in 'Wildlife & Nature Conservation' started by DavidBrown, 13 Nov 2015.

  1. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Moderator Staff Member

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  2. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Moderator Staff Member

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    Interesting case, although I could live without the low-brow commentary style of L.A. Weekly.

    Do hobby aquarists really have tanks big enough for arapaima?
     
  3. Gulo gulo

    Gulo gulo Well-Known Member

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    There's an Arapaima facility on the east coast. They're raised for food and aquarists. Some aquarists go all out, adding huge tanks in their homes. 50,000 gallon tanks or larger, aren't that uncommon. Aquarists go all-out.
     
  4. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Moderator Staff Member

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    So if captive raised specimens can be legally obtained from this east coast facility, why would aquarists purchase illegally imported specimens from this guy? Are they cheaper?
     
  5. Gulo gulo

    Gulo gulo Well-Known Member

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    Demand. Making a market for these fish to be obtained at any cost. The smuggler had an agenda and got busted. Who knows where those fish would end up. I don't follow pricing of these guys, but I'm sure smaller ones are less expensive than ones over 1m. The farm doesn't sell to "Joe Public Pet Shops". People with crazy ideas of obtaining them can't just go to a pet store and get some that outgrow their tank.
     
  6. TheMightyOrca

    TheMightyOrca Well-Known Member

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    According to the Tennessee Aquarium, trade is "heavily regulated". The article also says they're protected, but doesn't go into specifics. (and apparently all of the arapaima at this aquarium were obtained from confiscations, so I guess arapaima smuggling is more than just this one guy) And according to these other articles, he's been charged for importing all sorts of species, not just arapaima. Also, falsifying documents, among other things.

    U.S. seeks San Fernando Valley man charged with smuggling piranhas | L.A. NOW | Los Angeles Times
    Courthouse News Service
    Fish Smuggler Pleads Guilty to Smuggling Two Arapaima gigas
    Alleged fish smuggler sought by authorities | News | Practical Fishkeeping

    The last article says that owning arapaima is illegal in California, but I can't find another source that says it. This page is a list of restricted species in California, but I don't see arapaima on the list.

    I'm guessing that, even if owning the fish is legal, maybe they require some kind of permit to import. (or at least, there are certain regulations that must be followed) Buyers might not have known that the fish were obtained illegally, and even if they did, they might not care if his fish are cheaper or easier to get.
     
  7. Batto

    Batto Well-Known Member

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    Maybe he was offering different arapaima species, like Arapaima leptosoma?
     
  8. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    this was back in 2009 and 2010, before the splits.

    The article in David's original post was horribly-written; it reads as if it was handed in by a teenager as a homework assignment. There's a more informative one here - Ex-West Hills Resident Pleads Guilty to Fish Trafficking Charge | NBC Southern California - including additional information to what was in the links in TheMightyOrca's post (and also some pricing for the arapaima he was selling).