A man who is visiting New Zealand arrived in the country carrying five live Siamese fighting fish.
According to the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI), officials have “humanely euthanised the fish,” which were found in plastic bags They needed to because they came from an unknown source, which could potentially devastate freshwater fish populations in the country.
According to a press release released by the MPI, the five fish in the bags were seized at the Auckland Airport after the man declared “wet fish” on his arrival form.
“The traveller’s English wasn’t very fluent and we initially thought he was carrying frozen or dried fish,” said David Sims, Ministry of primary Industries manager, Auckland Airport. “It was a surprise when he pulled out the plastic bags.”
“We’re pleased the passenger knew to declare the fish,” Mr Sims added. “It appears the message is getting through to international air passengers that they need to declare any biosecurity risk items when they arrive in New Zealand.”
This is an uncommon occurrence in the airport, but it’s not the first time that an incident like this has happened. In 2013, an air passenger was caught by authorities smuggling live tropical fish in his pockets.
Siamese fighting fish, common aquarium fish, are native to countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand.
For a list of things that are not allowed to be brought to New Zealand, visit the Customs page here.