Asian carp are one of Illinois' most prominent invasive species.
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Conservation Police have arrested a commercial fisherman for the unlawful possession and sale of 1,800 pounds of live Asian bighead and silver carp.
Randall E. Watters of Hamburg was arrested Oct. 7. He was charged in Calhoun County for the unlawful sale of live injurious species, a Class 3 felony; and unlawful possession of live injurious species, a Class A misdemeanor. Ronald D. Watters of Hamburg was ticketed for possession of live bighead carp.
“Commercial fishermen play a key role in our efforts to control Asian carp, and we make every provision to allow them to deliver fresh product to processing plants,” Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Marc Miller said. “However, our conservation police officers take the job of preventing the spread of invasive species seriously, and anyone who attempts to transport or sell live Asian carp will be cited.”
Rules governing “injurious” species, such as Asian bighead and silver carp, are designed to curtail the spread of these species. The complete rule can be found at http://www.ilga.gov/commission/jcar/admincode/017/01700805sections.html.
By state law, fish are considered to be live if they are held in a container with water, are held in a solution of salt, electrolyte, or other substance, or combination to promote health or longevity. The fish cannot be maintained by the addition of oxygen or compressed or supplied air to keep them alive in captivity.
A Class 3 felony is punishable by up to two to five years imprisonment plus one year of mandatory supervised release, and up to $25,000 in fines or restitution. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in prison, fines of up to $2,500, or restitution.