A fish hatchery owner from Colorado just admitted to stocking rivers in Colorado, Utah and New Mexico with trout that were infected with whirling disease (Myxobolus cerebralis), according to this report at ABC News. The infected fish were released on more than 100 occasions, from 1997 through 2003. The punishment for pleading guilty in federal court to seven counts of "knowingly selling, transporting and stocking wildlife illegally"? The hatchery owner is now banned from doing business in New Mexico, and must pay $30,000. He can still stock bodies of water in Colorado (I presume this hinges on his fish being disease-free). Scientists are unsure what impact the parasite-infested fish will have on wild trout, though they note that native fish likely have little or no resistance to this newly introduced parasite. I say the fine should have included the cost of an environmental impact assessment and remediating any negative impacts on the trout.
Tip of the virtual hat to the Protect Your Waters website for posting about this story.