Prince Edward Island farmer pleads guilty to federal Fisheries Act offences - Court hands down $72,355 penalty
November 20, 2014 – Summerside, Prince Edward Island – Environment Canada
Warren Ellis, of Mount Royal, Prince Edward Island, was sentenced to pay a total of $72,355 in Summerside Provincial Court after pleading guilty to two violations of the Fisheries Act.
In pleading guilty, Ellis accepted responsibility for two violations related to two fish kills that occurred on July 23, 2011 and July 5, 2012 in western Prince Edward Island. An Environment Canada investigation, with support from the Province of PEI, revealed that Ellis had failed to take reasonable measures to prevent an agricultural pesticide from being released into fish-bearing waters, which then resulted in thousands of dead fish in Trout River and Barclay Brook. Ellis was also sentenced for committing a provincial Agricultural Crop Rotation Act offence.
The total monies ordered will be distributed as follows:
- $30,000 to the Environmental Damages Fund
- $27,500 to the Atlantic Salmon Federation
- $7,500 to the Scales Pond/Dunk River Restoration Project
- $5,000 Fisheries Act fine
- $2,355 provincial fine
- Subsection 36(3) of the Fisheries Act prohibits depositing, or permitting of the deposit of, a deleterious (harmful) substance into fish-bearing waters. Chlorothalonil, commonly referred to as Bravo, is a pesticide commonly used on PEI to control potato blight, a disease-causing fungus. It is very harmful to fish.
- On July 24, 2011, Environment Canada was notified by the province of PEI about a fish kill that occurred in Trout River on July 23, 2011. Fish, water, and sediment samples from the fish kill site were immediately collected and sent to Environment Canada’s laboratory in Moncton, NB for further analysis. Results indicated pesticide was present in the river.
- On July 5, 2012, Environment Canada was notified of a fish kill in the Barclay Brook, a tributary of the Trout River. Environment Canada Enforcement Officers along with the provincial government responded that same day and collected samples for forensic analysis at the EC lab in Moncton. More than 1800 dead fish were then collected from a three kilometre stretch of the Barclay Brook. Water and sediment samples showed high levels of Chlorothalonil.
- The Environmental Damages Fund (EDF), administered by Environment Canada, directs funds received as a result of fines, court orders, and voluntary payments to projects that will benefit our natural environment.
For more information about the EDF, visit: http://www.ec.gc.ca/edf-fde/
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