LETHBRIDGE, AB, June 26, 2019 /CNW/ - Canada is fortunate to have some of the most spectacular waterbodies in the world, serving as a home to rich biodiversity and precious ecosystems that need protection from unlawful exploitation and interference.
In August 2014, approximately 100 riders crossed Racehorse Creek during an organized motocross event in Crowsnest Pass, Alberta. This week, the organizers were sentenced after being convicted of causing serious harm to fish and specifically harming Westslope Cutthroat Trout: a subspecies of fish that is listed as Threatened under the Species at Risk Act.
Following a multi-year investigation led by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and supported by Alberta Fish and Wildlife, Mr. David Alan French and the Brooks Motocross Club of Brooks, Alberta were each found guilty on December 17, 2018 of violating section 32 (1) of the Species at Risk Act and section 35 (1) of the Fisheries Act Fisheries Act.
On June 24, 2019, the Honourable Judge Jerry LeGrandeur ordered French to pay a total fine of $25,000 and Brooks Motocross to pay a total fine of $45,000. Of the total fines, $64,000 will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund where it can be allocated towards recovery activities to benefit Aquatic Species at Risk in Alberta. Additionally, both parties are ordered to publish an article in a relevant publication or website explaining the environmental consequences of the incident.
Riders on off highway vehicles, including motocross bikes, should only cross watercourses at designated crossings, such as bridges, and avoid putting their wheels in the water.
Fisheries and Oceans 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. As part of our work to end illegal activities that harm ecosystems, we ask members of the public who suspect a violation of the Fisheries Act, the Species at Risk Act, or any pursuant regulations to contact the Fisheries Protection Program at 1-855-852-8320 or [email protected].
- The Species at Risk Act came into force in 2003, and encourages the various governments in Canada to cooperate to protect wildlife species in this country.
- Westslope Cutthroat Trout (Alberta population) was listed as Threated under the Species at Risk Act in 2013. The greatest threats to the species are habitat loss, overharvesting and the introduction of non-native species.
- Westslope Cutthroat Trout are found in a wide range of habitats but do best in cold, clean, moving water with various forms of cover such as undercut banks, pool-riffle habitat and riparian vegetation. The native Alberta population inhabits the Bow and Oldman drainages of the South Saskatchewan River.
- Westslope Cutthroat Trout (Alberta Population) Species at Risk Profile
- Fisheries Act
- Species at Risk Act
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SOURCE Fisheries and Oceans Central & Arctic Region
For further information: Media Relations, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Central and Arctic Region, 204-984-4715, [email protected]