A Portland seafood company has been fined more than $550,000 for violating import laws.

ISF Trading Co., located on Hobsons Wharf at 390 Commercial St., also was ordered to forfeit nearly $300,000 and was put on probation for a year by federal District Court Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. for violating the Lacey Act, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland said Thursday.

The Lacey Act prohibits trading in wildlife that has been illegally caught, owned, transported or sold.

According to federal prosecutors, ISF bought sea urchins from a supplier in Canada that wasn’t allowed, under Canadian law, to export seafood. ISF then brought the urchins into the U.S., using labels from another Canadian supplier that, at times, was allowed to export the urchins, prosecutors said.

ISF was charged with illegally importing about 48,000 pounds of sea urchins between Dec. 31, 2010, and Feb. 1, 2011. Prosecutors said the processed roe from the urchins was worth at least $172,800.

In handing down the sentence, Woodcock said he made the penalty severe because ISF violated laws in both Canada and the U.S. that are designed to protect the environment, marine resources and food safety.

ISF’s website says the company was started in 1989 and is one of the largest sea urchin exporters to Japan from the U.S., with annual sales of about $2 million.

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at:


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