U.S. company sentenced to pay $35,000 for offence under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994

October 25, 2017 – Witless Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador

The economy and the environment go hand in hand, and Environment and Climate Change Canada’s enforcement officers work hard every day to make sure people and companies are observing Canadian environmental laws.

The Eyelander, a vessel owned by U.S. company Bright Eye Fishing Corporation, has been fined $35,000 in the Provincial Court of Newfoundland and Labrador after the company pleaded guilty to violations under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994. The fine will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund.

On August 25, 2017, the Eyelander ran aground on Green Island, part of the Witless Bay Seabird Ecological Reserve, in Newfoundland and Labrador. Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers conducted an investigation and found that the grounding caused the ship to deposit diesel fuel in an area frequented by migratory birds. As part of the investigation, 16 murre-chick carcasses were recovered from the oil sheen on the water.

As a result of this conviction, the company’s name will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry.

Environment and Climate Change Canada has created a free subscription service to help Canadians stay current with what the Government of Canada is doing to protect our natural environment.

Quick Facts

  • Under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, Environment and Climate Change Canada is mandated to protect migratory birds, their nest, and populations, and it regulates potentially harmful human activities that may impact them.
  • The Witless Bay Seabird Ecological Reserve is made up of four islands, including Green Island, and is an extremely important area for breeding seabirds.  
  • The incident took place during the time of year when puffins and murres are fledging from their colonies, rendering both chicks and adults particularly vulnerable to oil pollution. This is especially true for murre chicks as they are still flightless, and they depart the colony by swimming on the water, accompanied to sea by an adult.
  • The Environmental Damages Fund supports the polluter pays principle. It provides an effective and innovative mechanism for responding to environmental damage by applying fines and voluntary payments to projects that support environmental initiatives.


Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll free)

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: