Yacht Club fined for destruction of bank swallow nests

MONCTON, N.B. -- February 9, 2012 -- The Pointe du Chêne Yacht Club, in Shediac, New Brunswick, has been fined $6,500 under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, for the destruction of Bank Swallow nests. A guilty plea was entered on the Club’s behalf on February 7th in Provincial Court in Moncton, New Brunswick. 

The Court directed that in accordance with the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, the $6,500 be placed into the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund. The Government of Canada recognizes that environmental good must follow environmental harm which is why courts now direct fines to this Fund so communities can repair the actual harm that has been done.

This incident took place on June 9, 2011 and was brought to the attention of Environment Canada by a member of the public who reported that Bank Swallow nests had been destroyed by heavy equipment.

Approximately 40 nests were destroyed when repairs were being made to the breakwater at the Pointe du Chêne Yacht Club that was damaged by storm surge last winter.

The Bank Swallow is a small migratory songbird protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994. The population of Bank Swallows has been in significant decline since 1980.  According to the North American Breeding Bird Atlas, declines have been seen in all regions of Canada and the United States, but are highest in New Brunswick where the population has decreased by nearly 22 per cent per year between 1989 and 2009.

Bank Swallows create burrows and build their nests on vertical or near-vertical banks and bluffs along rivers, lakes and oceans, as well as in sand and gravel pits. They nest in colonies ranging in size from 10 to 2,000 nests. Destruction of their coastal habitat can result in the loss of nests, eggs, chicks, the death of adult birds that are unable to escape from their burrows, and also prevents re-nesting at this site in the future. 

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Environment Canada

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