Hunters charged under Endangered Species Act
Ed Byrne, Minister of Natural Resources, and Tom Osborne, Minister of Environment and Conservation, said they are pleased with the convictions handed out recently to hunters who were charged under the Endangered Species Act.
In provincial court in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on Thursday, November 18, 2004, three hunters from Quebec were convicted of killing Red Wine Woodland Caribou - a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. The charges result from the incident of April 10, 2003, at which time conservation officers with the Department of Natural Resources seized 14 animals.
Jack Mark, Edmond Malleck and
Serge Mestanapeo, all of Pakuashipi, Quebec, were each fined $5,000,
prohibited from hunting caribou in Newfoundland and Labrador for a period of
30 months, and received probation of two years. The three individuals also
have to perform 50 hours of public relations activities including
participation in stewardship programs, public meetings and workshops to
educate the residents of their Innu communities on the designation of the
Red Wine Woodland Caribou under the Endangered
"These convictions will
serve to send a message to the Innu of Quebec and the general public that
this province will not tolerate any illegal hunting of the Red Wine
herd," said Minister Byrne. "We will remain vigilant in protecting
this herd from any further decline."
"These were the first
convictions under the province's Endangered Species Act, which
clearly demonstrate the importance of this act, as well as its
effectiveness," said Minister Osborne. "Government remains
committed to preserving all species that are at risk in our province and
will take the necessary action to protect species which are in danger of
The ministers were also pleased
that the three hunters in this incident did accept responsibility for their
actions and that they did make a statement through their legal counsel they
are committed to the preservation of the Red Wine herd.
"The acknowledgment of the
importance of the issue by all concerned can only serve to benefit the
threatened Red Wine caribou herd and this government's commitment to the
herd's protection," said Minister Osborne.
To further the conservation of
these caribou and other species at risk, a partnership has been formed - the
Labrador Species at Risk Stewardship Program - which includes Labrador's
Aboriginal communities and is funded by the Government of Canada's Habitat
Stewardship Program for Species at Risk. Through this program, dialogue has
been ongoing with representatives of the Quebec Innu to inform them of the
species at risk issues in Labrador.
Minister Byrne also provided
information on the April 2, 2004, incident in Cache River when approximately
100 Quebec Innu hunters participated in a protest hunt. Minister Byrne
stated that there have not been any charges laid as a result of that
"Our response to this
protest hunt in the closed hunting zone was very limited due to the fact
that the incident occurred during the provincial labour dispute. With
limited resources available at the time of this hunt, it was impossible to
conduct a proper investigation and unfortunately sufficient evidence was not
available to proceed with any charges," said Minister Byrne.
"However, I believe that our public statements at that time did serve
to deter any further hunting by the Quebec Innu."
Minister Byrne stated that with
regard to the March 21, 2004, incident, where conservation officers seized
32 caribou carcasses, three snowmobiles and four rifles, there have been
charges laid against several individuals and government awaits these charges
to be dealt with by the court.
Meanwhile, on Monday, November
15, 2004, at court in Wabush, Henri Mark and Normand Bellefleur of La
Romaine, Quebec, were convicted of discharging a firearm from a highway
under the Wildlife Act. Both were fined $200. The charges result from
an incident in November 22, 2003.
2004 12 01 1:10 p.m.