Public aquariums are intended to be places for education, conservation and entertainment. For any institution to knowingly advocate and participate in the illegal collection of display animals is a shame. It’s also a crime.The Idaho Aquarium, Inc, was sentenced on April 15th in Key West, Florida for “conspiring to harvest, transport, and sell spotted eagle rays and lemon sharks, knowing the marine life were taken, possessed, transported, sold, and intended to be sold in violation of the laws and regulations of the State of Florida, contrary to the federal Lacey Act, Title 16, United States Code, Sections 3372(a)(2)(A), and 3373(d)(1) and (2), all in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371.”
The Aquarium had previously pled guilty to the charges and agreed to pay $10.000.00 in fines and 3 years probation as part of the plea. The Court additionally ordered that the Aquarium pay $50,000.00 to the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, a non-profit organization.
The money will be used to help to promote education, conservation and research of coral reefs and marine life in the Florida Keys. Two Former Operators of the Aquarium, Ammon Covino and Christopher Conk were sentenced to prison time, in addition to additional fines and probation, in December for illegally obtaining and shipping three spotted eagle rays and two lemon sharks for the Idaho Aquarium. Illegal trafficking is a serious problem and it is good to see that Justice is being served and violators are duly prosecuted. It is also good to see that the fines are going to go back to help preserve the Florida Keys.
Source: Outdoor News Daily