Platteville fish dealer convicted in state’s first invasive carp case
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A rural Platteville fish dealer was convicted in both Dane Co. and Grant Co. after he was arrested for selling what the Dept. of Natural Resources described as the state’s “most prominent and highly destructive invasive species,” the Asian carp.
On Thursday, the agency announced Ping Li pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors and 17 forfeiture violations as part of a plea deal that will see him pay more than $13,000 in penalties.
He is accused of violating Wisconsin’s mandate that invasive carp are gutted or have their entire gills cover cut off. According to DNR, the law stems from the fact that bighead carp, silver carp, and grass carp can survive out of water for a day or more. Those steps make sure that they cannot survive.
Li, who was the sole operator of Li Fish Farm, was accused of transporting the carp intact, primarily in 2018 and 2019, but DNR alleged he had been doing it for longer than that. The agency claimed he moved more than four-and-a-half tons of illegally transported or sold invasive carp. He would also use an unmarked refrigerated van to move the fish, DNR added, pointing out that the vehicle made it harder for authorities to identify it as belonging to a fish dealer.
In its statement, the agency explained, the invasive carp “are different from the carp commonly known as German carp or common carp, which have lived in Wisconsin since the mid-1800s. Bighead, silver and grass carp are highly invasive fish that can destroy habitats of native state fish.”
Among the 19 convictions are Violation of Wholesale Fish Dealer Vehicle ID Requirements when Transporting Fish, Possession of Illegal Fish with a Value Over $300, Improper Transport of Asian Carp and Failure to Keep Wholesale Fish Dealer Records.
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