An Ontario based company has been fined $60,000 for illegally importing fins of threatened shark species.
On August 31, S L Dried Seafood Co. Ltd. and Wang Cheung, the store manager, were sentenced to pay $60,000 and $5,000 after pleading guilty in an Ontario court to unlawfully importing protected shark species without a permit.
Importing endangered species listed without a permit is a contravention of Canadian laws on International and Interprovincial Trade.
The fine will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund and used to support projects that benefit the natural environment.
In addition to the fine, Cheung and the company face two prohibitions under a Prohibition Order issued by the Court.
For one year, Cheung and S L Dried Seafood Co. Ltd. are prohibited from importing or exporting any CITES-listed species and they are prohibited from applying for any new permit under WAPPRIITA.
The court also ordered the company to forfeit the 29 illegally imported shark fins and approximately 325 kilograms of shark fin cartilage fragments.
The charges stem from events in May 2018, when ECCC Wildlife Enforcement Officers inspected an incoming shipment of shark products at the Canada Border Services Agency Container Examination Facility in Burnaby.
The shipment was destined for the Ontario-based company S L Dried Seafood Co. Ltd.
During the inspection, Wildlife Officers identified a box of 29 shark fins and 13 bags of assorted shark fin cartilage fragments. Subsequent DNA testing identified a number of different shark species, including fins or fin cartilage from two different CITES-listed shark species: silky shark and scalloped hammerhead shark.
Approximately 400 species of sharks are found in the world and they help maintain balance in marine ecosystems. In 2003, sharks began to be listed in the CITES Appendices. This is largely due to unsustainable fishing efforts coupled with the high demand of the international fin trade. In 2019, the Fisheries Act was amended to prohibit the import of non-attached shark fins from any species.
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