Two Newfoundland and Labrador hunters fined $10K for offences under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994

October 5, 2021 – Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland and Labrador – Environment and Climate Change Canada

Wildlife enforcement officers work across the country, enforcing the laws and regulations that protect and conserve wildlife and its habitat. This work aims to reduce threats and damage to biodiversity for the benefit of Canadians and all living things.

On September 29, 2021, Joshua Kearley and Andrew Mullins from Rencontre East, Newfoundland and Labrador, were each sentenced to pay $5,000 after pleading guilty to one charge each under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 in the Grand Falls-Windsor Provincial Court, Newfoundland and Labrador. The total fines will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund. In addition to the fines, the two hunters are prohibited from applying for, using, or possessing a migratory game bird hunting permit for one year.

On December 4, 2020, Fisheries and Oceans Canada fishery officers conducted an inspection of a vessel on coastal waters near Rencontre East, Newfoundland and Labrador. The officers observed two men onboard the boat. They had a cooler that contained an unidentifiable bird carcass without wings or feathers. Neither individual had a migratory bird hunting permit in their possession, although Mr. Kearley was able to provide proof of one in the following days. The items were seized and the matter was turned over to Environment and Climate Change Canada’s wildlife enforcement officers for investigation.

Lab tests confirmed that the bird carcass was that of a black-legged kittiwake, which is a migratory non-game bird protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994. The black-legged kittiwake has been identified as a vulnerable species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which means that it is considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild. As such, this species has been identified as a priority for conservation in Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada. The work of wildlife enforcement officers supports conservation objectives by ensuring that black-legged kittiwakes are not possessed or hunted except pursuant to an Aboriginal or treaty right or lawful authority. Neither of the individuals had permits that would allow them to lawfully possess these birds, so they were therefore in violation of section 5(a) of the Act.

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