Yamba prawn farmer jailed

A YAMBA prawn farmer has been jailed for up to three years after being found guilty of illegally importing feed products.

Yamba farm manager of Fortune Enterprises Australia Pty Ltd, Chung Yan Lee, pleaded guilty to aiding in the commission of an aggravated illegal importation offence contrary to the Quarantine Act 1908.

Mr Lee was sentenced to three years’ jail and could be released after a period of six months on entering into $1000 good behaviour bond for a further period of two years.

Fortune Enterprises Australia’s company director, Fang Che Yang, of Mission Beach, was also jailed for three years. The aquaculture company was fined $40,000 by the Brisbane District Court.

Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) officers from the Federal Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) uncovered the breach during an investigation in 2006 called ‘Operation Penaeus’. Biosecurity Services Group deputy secretary Rona Mellor said prawn feed, which is imported without proper quarantine checks, could pose a biosecurity risk to Australian seafood industries, through the introduction of exotic prawn diseases or pests.

“The sentences handed down by the Brisbane District Court sends a strong message to anyone considering illegally importing products into Australia,” Ms Mellor said.

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