Unlawful import of regulated fish into Canada nets $35K penalty for Ontario aquatic pet store

September 25, 2019 – Toronto, Ontario – Environment and Climate Change Canada

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s enforcement officers are deeply committed to enforcing federal and international wildlife legislation in an effort to stop the illegal trafficking of endangered species.

On September 24, 2019, a guilty plea was entered on behalf of Magical Aquarium Club Inc. in the Ontario Court of Justice to a charge laid under the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act. The company received a $35,000 penalty, which will be directed toward the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund. Additionally, the company is subject to a court order prohibiting Mr. Tao, an employee, from applying for a permit under the Act, for two years—a requirement for legally importing or exporting species listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

On December 7, 2018, Mr. Tao imported into Canada, on behalf of Magical Aquarium Club Inc., twenty-six live Asian arowana fish from Malaysia. The trade in arowanas is controlled because the species is listed in appendix I of CITES, the most trade-restrictive category. For this reason, two CITES permits are required to legally import specimens into Canada, one permit from the country of export and one from Canada, the country of import. The company did not obtain an import permit. The Court also ordered the arowanas be forfeited to the Crown.

Call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) to anonymously report wildlife crimes. You may be eligible for a reward of up to $2,000 from Crime Stoppers.

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