Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

April 16, 2012 16:00 ET

Canada-United States Investigation Results in $150,000 Fine Against American Company for Illegal Exports

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - April 16, 2012) - An Illinois company that pleaded guilty in a United States District Court January 10, 2012, has been fined $150,000 (US) and ordered to pay over $13,000 in restitution for illegally exporting protected wildlife products into Canada and other countries.

The Court judgment was the result of a joint investigation led by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Office of Law Enforcement and Homeland Security Investigations, with the assistance of the Conservation and Protection Branch of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Atlas Fibre, the parent company of Atlas Billiard Supplies, pleaded guilty to one count of violating the American Endangered Species Act by illegally exporting elephant ivory in violation of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora. African elephant ivory, and other protected wildlife parts including shark skin, abalone shells, and the hides of elephants and monitor lizards, was used in the fabrication of billiard tables and cue sticks.

At the request of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, undercover fishery officers from the Pacific Intelligence and Investigation Services unit of Fisheries and Oceans Canada purchased abalone shell decorative inlays and shark skin billiard cue handle wraps - both products suspected of coming from endangered or protected species.

In British Columbia, due to serious conservation concerns, all abalone fisheries were closed in 1990. In 2003, northern abalone were listed as threatened under the Canadian Species at Risk Act, which aims to prevent endangered and threatened wildlife from becoming extinct and to help in the recovery of these species. Despite continued efforts to rebuild populations and prosecute poachers, abalone stocks are showing little sign of recovery. In 2011 the species was reassessed as Endangered. One of the greatest threats to northern abalone survival in the wild is continued poaching.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada acts to end illegal fishing activities. As part of this work, the Department asks the general public for information on activities of this nature or any contravention of the Fisheries Act. Anyone with information can call the toll-free reporting line at 1-800-465-4336.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service news release:

http://www.fws.gov/midwest/News/release.cfm?rid=495

Contact Information

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Region
    Leri Davies
    Strategic Media Relations Advisor
    (604) 666-8675