J&A Health Food International sentenced for illegal import of plant species
RICHMOND, B.C. -- September 25, 2012 -- J&A Health Food International Ltd pleaded guilty and was sentenced in Richmond Provincial court on September 11th on three counts for offences under the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA).
The company received penalties of $45,000 for importing without a permit wild American ginseng roots and orchid species (Dendrobium spp) used in traditional Asian medicines. Both species are listed under the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Sentencing included forfeiture of approximately 19 kg of ginseng (wild and cultivated) and approximately 5 kg of orchids.
The $45,000 penalties are broken down into a fine of $2,500 for each of the three counts under WAPPRIITA subsection 6(2), $7,500 to be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund, and $30,000 awarded directly to TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade monitoring network which works to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature.
On January 28, 2010, Environment Canada wildlife officers discovered several bags of wild American ginseng roots hidden amongst a shipment of permitted ginseng roots. Further inspection revealed several bags of orchids. Both species were of high value, and neither was declared to the Canada Border Services Agency.
The CITES is an international agreement to regulate trade in specific species of wild animals and plants, as well as their respective parts and derivatives. WAPPRIITA is the legislation used to implement CITES in Canada.
The Environmental Damages Fund is administered by Environment Canada, and was created in 1995 to provide a mechanism for directing funds received as a result of fines, court orders, and voluntary payments to priority projects that will benefit our natural environment.
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