Vancouver company convicted in Queen conch case, fined $78,000

    VANCOUVER, Jan. 8 /CNW Telbec/ - Environment Canada's Wildlife
Enforcement Division announced today that on January 4, 2008, Pacific Marine
Union Corporation of Vancouver, British Columbia entered a guilty plea in
Vancouver Provincial Court to two counts under the Wild Animal and Plant
Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act
(WAPPRIITA) and was fined a total of $78,566.94 - of which $10,000 will be
paid into the Environmental Damages Fund. The Fund, administered by
Environment Canada on behalf of the Government of Canada, provides the courts
with a way to direct fine monies to restore and protect the environment.
    The charges were a result of Operation Shell Game, an 18-month long
investigation into the unlawful import and export of Queen conch. This
investigation involved federal wildlife officers in British Columbia, Ontario,
Quebec and Nova Scotia as well as Special Agents from both the United States
Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) Office for Law Enforcement in New York and Florida.
    In January of 2005, Pacific Marine Union Corporation unlawfully exported
two shipments of Queen conch to Caribbean Conch, Inc. of Hialeah, Florida.
Then, between July 2005 and March 2006, Pacific Marine Union Corporation
unlawfully imported five shipments of Queen conch meat from Haiti (declared as
either "clams" or "whelk") which was subsequently repackaged and relabelled as
"whelk meat" (a non-endangered species) and exported to Caribbean Conch, Inc.,
in Florida. Over 24,000 kilograms (54,000 pounds) of Queen conch meat was
unlawfully exported to the United States.
    Endangered species of animals and plants, such as Queen conch, are listed
under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild
Fauna and Flora (CITES). Queen conch and their parts (meat and shells) are
therefore protected under Canada's WAPPRIITA and its regulations.

    Environment Canada is the lead agency responsible for implementing CITES
on behalf of the Government of Canada. CITES sets controls, through a permit
system, on the international trade and movement of animal and plant species
that are endangered, or have been, or may be, threatened due to excessive
commercial exploitation.

    To report the smuggling or trafficking of endangered species or any
infraction of a federal wildlife law, the public is invited to contact
Environment Canada's Wildlife Enforcement Division at 604-666-5892.

    (Egalement offert en français)

For further information:

For further information: Patrick Porter, Federal Wildlife Officer,
Wildlife Enforcement Division, Environment Canada, Pacific & Yukon Region,
(604) 666-8471; Environment Canada Media Relations, (819) 934-8008,

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