Fine for import of Queen conch meat

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. -- April 2, 2012 -- Khemchand (Kenny) Beharry, carrying on business as KB Cantrin Marketing, of Ajax, Ontario, pleaded guilty on March 20 in the Ontario Court of Justice to one count of unlawfully importing into Canada the meat of a threatened marine species, the Queen conch (Strombus gigas). Mr. Beharry received a fine of $2,500 and was ordered to forfeit the meat.

Mr. Beharry was charged on November 23, 2010, by Environment Canada under the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA), section 6 (2). Mr. Beharry failed to obtain the required permit under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to import Queen conch.

Environment Canada’s enforcement officers launched an investigation after unidentified seafood meats were discovered in a shipment by the Canada Border Services Agency. Imported from Grenada by KB Cantrin Marketing, which is owned by Khemchand (Kenny) Beharry, the unidentified meats were confirmed by DNA analysis to be a threatened marine species, the Queen conch.

Queen conch is an edible marine snail that inhabits the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean around Bermuda. It is heavily fished for its meat, and the pink shells and pearls are sought by collectors and for jewellery. Because these animals are slow growing and tend to gather in shallow water to spawn, they are particularly vulnerable to over-fishing.

CITES is an international agreement to regulate trade in specific species of wild animals and plants, as well as their respective parts and derivatives. Environment Canada is the lead agency responsible for CITES implementation in Canada. WAPPRIITA is the legislation used to implement CITES in Canada.

Further information on CITES and WAPPRIITA may be found at Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

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