CHATHAM-KENT, ON, Nov. 30, 2018 /CNW/ - Following an investigation by fishery officers, two homeowners 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. On November 22, 2018, Justice of the Peace David Auger ordered Karen Healey and Mackenzie DeBoer of Shrewsbury, Ontario, to each pay a fine of $3,500. 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.
In April 2018, Healey and DeBoer dredged shoreline adjacent to their properties, unknowingly destroying critical habitat for the Spotted Gar. This species of fish was listed as Threatened under the Species at Risk Act in 2003 and its critical habitat is now 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 species at risk maps. For more information on working near water, or to report a possible violation of the Species at Risk Act, residents of Ontario should contact the Fisheries Protection Program at 1-855-852-8320 or [email protected].
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. Fisheries and Oceans Canada has a mandate to protect and conserve aquatic resources. Through the Department's Conservation and Protection Program, we ensure and promote compliance through a combination of land, air, and sea patrols; education and awareness activities; and, enforcement action when necessary.
- This is the first Species at Risk Act conviction for destroying critical habitat for an aquatic species in Canada.
- 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.
- The Spotted Gar 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.
- Spotted Gar Species at Risk Profile
- Species at Risk Act
- Aquatic Species at Risk Map
- Projects Near Water Guidelines
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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]