Ontario company ordered to pay $25,000 for the illegal import of coral

September 7, 2017 – Mississauga, Ontario

Illegal trafficking of wildlife is not acceptable in Canada. Unlawfully exploiting threatened species for profit will not be tolerated.

On August 25, 2017, Aquatic Kingdom Inc. was ordered to pay, in the Ontario Court of Justice, a combined total penalty of $25,000 for violations relating to the illegal importation of corals under the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act ($15,000) and the Customs Act ($10,000). The total penalty will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund.

In November 2015, Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers inspected a shipment of live tropical fish being imported into Canada to verify compliance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). During the inspection of the fish, enforcement officers found that

  • The corals were hidden within the shipment of the tropical fish.
  • The company did not have the required CITES permits.
  • The corals were not declared to the Canada Border Services Agency nor to Environment and Climate Change Canada

Charges were laid against Aquatic Kingdom Inc., and the company pleaded guilty on February 2, 2017. As a result of this conviction, the company’s name will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry.

Quick facts

  • More than 180 countries, including Canada, have signed the CITES agreement. These countries are working together to protect tens of thousands of the world’s most threatened species.
  • CITES sets controls on the worldwide trade and movement of more than 33 000 animal and plant species that are, or may be, threatened due to excessive exploitation and trade. CITES uses an international permit system that is administered by national jurisdictions to regulate trade in CITES-listed species.
  • The Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act is the legislation used to implement CITES in Canada.
  • The ecosystems that form around coral reefs are some of the most biologically diverse systems in the world, hosting more than 25 percent of the world’s fish. Coral is threatened by polluted runoff, destructive fishing practices, development, and harvesting for both the aquarium and jewelry trade.
  • Created in 1995, the Environmental Damages Fund is a Government of Canada program administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada. The fund follows the offender pays principle and ensures court-awarded penalties are used for projects with positive environmental impacts.

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