Three individuals fined a total of $34,000 for violating federal wildlife legislation
July 26, 2023 – Montréal, Quebec
Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers are committed to enforce federal and international wildlife legislation in order to put an end to the illegal trafficking of threatened species.
On July 18, 2023, at the Palais de Justice in Montréal, Quebec, Tran Dinh Tuan Vu was fined $5,000 after pleading guilty to one count of violating the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act. On July 25, 2023, Thi Kim Loan Nguyen pleaded guilty to one count and Minh Truong Hai Nguyen to four counts of violating the same Act. Thi Kim Loan Nguyen was fined $5,000 and Minh Truong Hai Nguyen $24,000. The fines will be paid to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund.
The sentences were handed down by the Court following reports concerning illegal trade activities that took place between May 2017 and August 2018. During their investigation, wildlife enforcement officers found that the three individuals had transported or had illegally possessed black bear gall bladders for the purpose of transporting them from New Brunswick to Quebec. In so doing, the individuals committed offences under the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act.
The investigation was carried out as part of Operation Pochette, an operation aimed at dismantling a trafficking network for gall bladders and other parts of black bears. The joint operation was conducted in collaboration with the provinces of New Brunswick and Quebec.
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The high prices of black bear parts, particularly gall bladders, which can be higher than those of some illegal drugs, have propelled criminal networks to use sophisticated methods to carry out illegal poaching, trafficking, imports and exports.
In 1992, the American Black Bear was added to Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to protect it from the overharvesting resulting from the illegal trade of bear parts, specifically, gall bladders.
Interprovincial and international trade in, and the transport of, bear gall bladders are prohibited in Canada, as per the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act.
Subsection 7(2) of the Act states that no person shall transport from a province to another province any part of an animal in contravention of any provincial Act or regulation. Paragraph 8(b) of the Act states that no person shall knowingly possess any part of an animal for the purpose of transporting it from one province to another province in contravention of the Act.
The majority of Canada’s provinces and territories prohibited the possession of bear gall bladders between the late 1980s and the early 1990s in order to reduce pressure on bear populations in Canada.
Created in 1995, the Environmental Damages Fund is a Government of Canada program administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada. The Fund helps ensure that court-awarded penalties are used to repair environmental damage or benefit the environment. The Fund receives and redirects the money from court penalties and settlements and aims to invest in areas where the environmental damage occurred.
Environment and Climate Change Canada
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