Idaho Aquarium Sentenced For Illegal Trafficking

Francis YupangcoBy Francis Yupangco 4 years ago
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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.1386089718-idaho_aquariumThe 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

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Francis Yupangco
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 Francis Yupangco

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Francis is a marine biologist with an MBA and over 20 years of professional aquarium experience. Francis is the former Aquatic Development Manager at Hagen USA., makers of Fluval brand aquarium products. He co-stars on Nat Geo WILD's reality TV series Fish Tank Kings where he is the resident "Fish Geek" and was Director of Marketing at Living Color Aquariums. He is an avid explorer having visited over 45 countries and lived in 7. At 17, he was among the youngest aquarists ever hired by the Vancouver Aquarium, where he worked for 7 years. His aquatic biology experience ranges from larval fish rearing to the design, construction and operational management of renowned public aquariums around the world. Francis is currently head of marketing at the world's largest vertically integrated fish farming company.

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