SPRINGFIELD, Ill. WMBD– An Indiana man has pled guilty to importing over 2600 pounds of live catfish into Illinois’ water without a permit from Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR).

Michael Sullivan of Griffith, Indiana negotiated a plea deal in Oct. for one count of importing live fish without a permit. Fish purchased in Mississippi and Alabama were dumped into Plainfield Lake on three separate occasions.

IDNR provides free importation permits with tested fish to protect local ecosystems from invasive species and diseases. The illegally dumped channel catfish are susceptible to viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) which can decimate fish populations.

According to Conservation Police Officer Brandon Fehrenbacher, who works in the Invasive Species Unit, “Importing and stocking untested fish significantly increases the risks to our resources and undercuts others within the industry abiding by the law. These types of conservation offenses can be complex and time-consuming in an already overburdened court system.”

“IDNR is grateful the Illinois Attorney General’s Environmental Crimes Bureau and the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office dedicated the time and resources required to prosecute this case.”

Sullivan will receive 24 months court supervision and $227 in fines, in addition to 30 hours of community service and $10,5000 restitution to the IDNR Conservation Police Operations Assistance Fund.