First 'Species at Risk' charge in Chatham-Kent for destruction of fish habitat

Two Chatham-Kent residents are the first to be charged under the Species at Risk Act for destroying critical aquatic species habitat.

Act came into force in 2003

The Spotted Gar is a freshwater fish that's mainly found in Lake Erie within Long Point Bay, Point Pelee National Park and Rondeau Bay. (William Glass/Fisheries and Oceans Canada)

Two Chatham-Kent residents are the first to be charged under Species at Risk Act, which has been in force since 2003, for destroying critical habitat of an aquatic species.

The pair from the community of Shrewsbury pleaded guilty to destroying the critical habitat of a threatened fish species in Rondeau Bay, says Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).

In April 2018, they dredged the shoreline near their properties, which damaged the protected habitat of the Spotted Gar, a threatened fish.

Each homeowner has been ordered to pay a fine of $3,500. Most of the fine will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund and earmarked for Spotted Gar recovery. 

According to the DFO, the Spotted Gar live in backwaters of creeks, rivers and lakes and are found predominantly in Lake Erie around Long Point Bay, Point Pelee National Park and Rondeau Bay. 

More on protected and endangered species in southwestern Ontario:


  • The previous version of the story stated the residents were the first to be charged under Ontario's Species at Risk Act, when in fact it was federal legislation. The story has also been updated to more accurately reflect they were the first to be charged for destroying critical habitat for an aquatic species in Canada.
    Dec 04, 2018 2:47 PM ET


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