WINDSOR, Ont. — While Congress prepares to debate the merits of an $18.4 billion plan to keep Asian carp out of Lake Michigan by re-engineering Chicago-area waterways, the war against illegal imports along the U.S.-Canadian border continues.
A Canadian court this week fined a trucking company and one of its drivers $75,000 for attempting to smuggle tons of Asian carp across the border in 2012.
Alltheway Trucking Inc. of Edmonton, Alberta, and trucker Yong-Sheng Zhang,of Markham, Ont., were caught on Jan. 25, 2012, and again on Feb. 28, 2012 in Windsor after crossing the Ambassador Bridge via Detroit.
During the first stop, authorities seized nearly 6,614 pounds — more than 3 tons — of grass and bighead carp from the truck Mr. Zhang drove. A month later, they seized nearly 14,000 pounds, or 7 tons of bighead carp. In both cases, there was a combination of live and dead fish.
The fines were issued Thursday by Justice of the Peace Maureen Ryan-Brode, who had heard the case in June in the Ontario Court of Justice. She found them guilty of possessing live invasive fish.
Kevin Sprague, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources spokesman, said the fish were believed to have been trucked from an illegal supplier in Arkansas for fish markets in the Greater Toronto area. It is not illegal for fish markets to possess or sell dead carp, but it is illegal to transport them. The judge ordered the fines to be paid in 12 months.
A message seeking comment from Alltheway was not returned. The company, which owns eight trucks and employs 18 people, was fined $30,000 for the first offense and $40,000 for the second, Mr. Sprague said. Mr. Zhang was fined $2,000 and $3,000, respectively, for the two offenses, Mr. Sprague said.
The Canadian Border Services Agency assisted with the investigation.