Prince Edward Island farming company sentenced for 2014 Fisheries Act violation linked to fish kill

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island – December 20, 2018 – Environment and Climate Change Canada

Canadians value a safe and clean environment. Environment and Climate Change Canada’s enforcement officers strive to ensure individuals and companies are respecting Canadian environmental laws.

On December 12, Brookfield Gardens Inc. was sentenced to pay a $15K penalty for depositing a deleterious substance into water frequented by fish, an offence under the Fisheries Act. The company was found guilty in Charlottetown Provincial Court on September 7, 2018, after a three-day trial in July.

In August 2014, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) Enforcement Officers and officials from the Prince Edward Island Government responded to a fish kill incident in North River, North Milton. A total of 1,155 dead fish were collected in a 3.8-km section of the North River. The affected fish included brook trout, rainbow trout, Atlantic salmon and sticklebacks.

The ECCC-led investigation determined that a rainfall event on August 6 and 7, 2014, caused a significant amount of runoff from a carrot field to be deposited into the North River. Laboratory results confirmed that the runoff contained chlorothalonil, diazinon and linuron, which are pesticides that are deleterious, or harmful, to fish.

In the reasons for the September 7, 2018, guilty verdict, the judge noted that a major rainfall was a reasonably predictable event. The judge accepted the testimony of an expert witness whose opinion was that the damage could have been prevented by taking proper steps. The judge highlighted one preventative measure that could have been taken, which was to not plant row crops when the environmental risk could not be properly addressed.

The total $15K fine will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund (EDF). As a result of the conviction, the company’s name will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry.

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