This is a TNB Public Service Announcement. Don’t smuggle leeches.
We at TNB were not aware this message needed to be provided. We were wrong. Recent events in Canada have demonstrated the need for this friendly reminder.
On the positive side, it seems as if our earlier PSAs are being heeded. The leeches were not in anyone’s pants.
To be accurate, the man stopped at Toronto Pearson International Airport was not making any effort to conceal the leeches, and is therefore not being charged with smuggling. Canada has specific requirements for their smuggling laws. Instead, he’s being charged with “illegally importing an internationally regulated species.” National Geographic reported the October 17 arrest, and interviewed André Lupert, manager of intelligence for the Canadian Wildlife Enforcement Directorate.
The man claimed that the leeches in his possession were for personal use and that their waste water would enrich his orchids, Lupert says.National Geographic
It’s possible. This is not the first time leeches have been smuggled into Canada, after all.
in 2017, two Minnesota fisherman independently tried smuggling the annelids into the Great White North, and were caught by Canadian officials. Leeches, it seems, are superior fish bait.
Russell R. Sikkila Jr. of Chisholm was fined $800 (Canadian dollars) for trying to sneak a dozen leeches into Sand Point Lake, while Carl W. Brandt of Forest Lake was fined $1,500 for hiding bags of leeches in a worm cooler as he crossed the border at Fort Frances.Duluth News Tribune
What makes the claim of the October arrestee dubious is the quantity of leeches. A dozen is bad. Bags is worse. But this time, more than 5,000 of the crawlers were wriggling in a huge mass in the briefcase.
If those were for personal use, I am rethinking my positive attitude about visiting Canada.
Question of the night: what’s the best thing you’ve caught while fishing?