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Man Allegedly Smuggled Endangered Fish In Bag Around Neck

A Vietnamese man has been arrested at Adelaide airport after Australian Border Force officers allegedly caught him trying to smuggle a live endangered fish.

The man was selected for a baggage check and frisk search after flying into Adelaide from Malaysia.

It was during the frisk search that the man produced a bag containing the fish, Australian Border Force said in a statement.

"A 34-year-old man has been arrested at Adelaide Airport after Australian Border Force (ABF) officers stopped him allegedly trying to import a live fish, hanging in a bag around his neck," the statement read.

The live animal was confiscated and referred to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources who later identified the fish as an endangered "Fully Red Asian Arowana".

The fish was sent for identification to determine its biosecurity risk. Image: AAP/ABF

The trade of the species is controlled under an international convention, to which Australia is a signatory, ABF said.

The Red Arowana can grow up to 90 centimetres in length and are incredibly rare and expensive.

Prices vary, but one of the fish is rumoured to have sold for up to US$300,000 several years ago.

Chief Superintendent Brett Liebich said ABF was committed to stopping the trade in rare animals and to protect Australian native wildlife from foreign diseases and predators.

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“The ABF takes the illegal wildlife trade seriously and we will continue to work collaboratively with our partners to detect, disrupt and deter illegal activity at our borders,” Liebich said.

The Vietnamese man was granted bail and is due to appear before a Magistrates Court on May 15.

Image: AAP/ABF

If found guilty he faced a maximum of 10 years' imprisonment and could be fined up to $210,000 for wildlife trade offences.

ABF confirmed the fish was "humanely euthanised" because of the risk exotic animals pose to Australian biosecurity.

Featured Image: AAP/ABF