Species at Risk Act conviction occurs in C-K
Two homeowners recently pleaded guilty in the Ontario Court of Justice to destroying critical habitat of a threatened species of fish in Rondeau Bay, a violation of the Species at Risk Act.
Last month, justice of the peace David Auger ordered two Shrewsbury residents to each pay a fine of $3,500, according to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
It is the first Species at Risk Act conviction for destroying critical habitat for an aquatic species in Canada.
Of the total $7,000 fine, $6,000 will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund, where it can be allocated specifically for recovery activities to benefit the spotted gar.
This species primarily lives in quiet, clear pools, and backwaters of creeks, rivers, and lakes. It is mainly found in Lake Erie within Long Point Bay, Point Pelee National Park, and Rondeau Bay.
The court heard that, in April of this year, the two individuals dredged shoreline adjacent to their properties, unknowingly destroying critical habitat for the spotted gar. This species was listed as threatened under the Species at Risk Act in 2003, and its critical habitat is legally protected from destruction.
Prior to undertaking any work on the water, proponents should review Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s guidelines on projects near water and aquatic speciesat-risk maps.
“The Government of Canada is committed to safeguarding the long-term health and productivity of Canada’s fisheries resources and the habitat that supports them for generations to come,” the department said in the release.
For more information on working near water, or to report a possible violation of the Species at Risk Act, contact the Fisheries Protection Program at 1-855-8528320 or FisheriesProtec[email protected]