Species at Risk Act con­vic­tion oc­curs in C-K

The Chatham Daily News - - NEWS - DAILY NEWS STAFF

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]

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