MONTRÉAL, Que. -- September 28, 2011 -- The Quebec component of an investigation into the illegal trade of Queen Conches, initiated in October 2006 by Environment Canada, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and fisheries officers from the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, ended in a guilty verdict and a fine totalling $40,000 for Michael Angelakis. This investigation was conducted in Quebec by Environment Canada's Wildlife Enforcement Directorate from several regions in the country.
Angelakis, 31, from Laval, was found guilty on Monday, September 26, in Montréal Provincial Court. Angelakis was accused of importing a shipment of Queen Conches (Strombus gigas) into Canada without an export permit under the Columbia Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Not having a CITES permit is a violation under the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act.
Following a joint declaration of facts, Angelakis was given a $40,000 fine payable to the Environmental Damages Fund. In consideration of this, Angelakis was given an absolute discharge by the court.
The Queen Conch, also known as the pink conch, is a large local mollusc--the flesh of which is highly sought after--found in the waters of 36 Caribbean countries. The species is protected under the CITES.
Operation Shell Game, which began in 2006, required the participation of wildlife officers from Environment Canada and Florida. Canadian and U.S. border authorities also contributed to the investigation.
CITES is an international agreement that regulates the trade of certain wild animal and plant species, including their parts, organs and by-products. In Canada, CITES is enforced under the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act.
Environment Canada and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service are responsible for enforcing the federal laws in their respective countries governing the trade of wild species, including endangered species and invasive species, and for protecting species at risk, migratory birds and protected areas for wild species. To report the smuggling or trafficking of endangered species or any violation of federal laws pertaining to the protection of wild species, the public is invited to contact Environment Canada by telephone at 1-800-668-6767 (toll free) or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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