Friday November 21, 2014

Wildlife Act fines of $41,000 for import/export

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A North Battleford-area resident has been fined nearly $41,000 for unlawfully importing and exporting wildlife in and out of Saskatchewan.

Carlin Nordstrom was found guilty in provincial court on 13 of the 24 charges against him under the Wildlife Act and the federal Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act.

The fine amounts to $39,400 for six Wildlife Act charges, and $1,502 for the federal act charges, for a total of $40,902. He was given four years to pay the fine.

Nordstrom was sentenced in North Battleford provincial court Feb. 3, before Judge David Kaiser.

Nordstrom’s case was one of three wildlife cases before the court that day and was described as the most complex, taking up much of the afternoon.

According to Gary Provencher, conservation officer with the provincial Ministry of Environment, Nordstrom had originally been charged with 24 counts of unlawfully importing and exporting wildlife. Provencher said Nordstrom had been importing wild animals, including deer and elk, from Alberta to stock a game farm on reserve land on the Poundmaker First Nation north of Cut Knife.

The animals were brought to Nordstrom’s operation to be hunted and killed by game clients, mostly Americans.

The Canadian and U.S. border services, the Alberta and the U.S. fish and wildlife agencies, as well as Saskatchewn Ministry of Environment were involved in the investigation. It was discovered during that investigation the deer and elk were coming into the province without proper authorization.

The main concern, said Provencher, was that the animals were coming in from farms that weren’t certified and didn’t meet disease protocols for imports.

“We didn’t want him bringing in animals that hadn’t been tested,” he said.

Provencher noted that a few years ago the ministry was concerned about an outbreak of chronic wasting disease, with several animals testing positive in the province for CWD.

Provencher said he believes the fine “sends a strong message” with respect to the need to comply with permits to prevent the spread of disease.

“We require import and export permits as a tool in monitoring the movement of provincial wildlife products,” Provencher said. “We want to ensure our own wildlife is disease free and we’re also trying to prevent the spread to domestic livestock, too.”

Nordstrom is now no longer in business, said Provencher, and he cannot apply for provincial and federal game licenses for two years as part of the penalty.

The Ministry of Environment encourages anyone aware of suspected wildlife, fisheries or environmental violations to report them to the nearest Ministry of Environment office or to call the province’s toll-free Turn In Poacher (TIP) line at 1-800-667-7561 or at #5555 for SaskTel cell phone subscribers.

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