September 28, 2005
(Environment and Conservation)

Charges laid under Endangered Species Act

Investigative work carried out by staff of the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Environment and Conservation has resulted in the conviction of two males under the province�s Endangered Species Act.

Stephen MacInnis of Sackville, New Brunswick, and Steven Lomond of Blackfalds, Alberta, both former residents of Port aux Basques, were charged on July 24, 2005 with disturbing the residence of a species designated as threatened or endangered, namely the piping plover, at J.T. Cheeseman Provincial Park. Both men pleaded guilty to the offence at provincial court in Port aux Basques on September 7 and were each fined $1,000.

�The province�s Endangered Species Act is an important piece of legislation that allows us to help ensure the protection of our species that are at risk in this province,� said Environment and Conservation Minister Tom Osborne. �The public must be sent a clear message that such actions against our endangered species will not be tolerated and these convictions demonstrate how serious government takes this issue.�

The piping plover is an endangered shorebird that nests on less than 20 beaches on the island of Newfoundland, primarily in the southwestern portion. A long-term monitoring program, which includes formal breeding surveys to determine the number of nests and fledglings and regular monitoring of core beaches, is being undertaken by the province, Canadian Wildlife Service, and local stewardship groups.

In 2005, 46 birds were counted, and 20 nests were documented over 10 beaches. All 10 beaches contained signs that showed a picture of the piping plover and indicated that the area is a sensitive breeding nesting area. J.T. Cheeseman Provincial Park contained four nests, or 20 per cent of the total breeding population of piping plovers in the province in 2005.

Media contact: Sonia Glover, Communications, (709) 729-2575, 685-6612

2005 09 28                            2:10 p.m.

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