QUEBEC CITY, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Feb. 26, 2013) - Construction contractor Fernand Gilbert Ltée has been fined $165,000 for damages to fish habitat in five streams and one river in the Réserve faunique des Laurentides in the course of roadwork on Highway 175. The contractor pleaded guilty on January 29, 2013, to six charges of harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat in violation of subsection 35(1) of the Fisheries Act.
The offences were observed at construction sites following a 2006 investigation by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). Construction work performed by Fernand Gilbert Ltée did not comply with the conditions of authorization under subsection 35(2) of the Fisheries Act, and therefore caused damage to fish habitat.
For example, during installation of culverts and bridge construction, machinery directly crossed through watercourses. Significant quantities of sediment and the resulting turbidity contributed to altering more than 26,822 m2 of fish habitat used particularly by Brook Trout, a species highly prized by recreational fishing enthusiasts.
At the Department's request, the court ordered Fernand Gilbert Ltée to pay DFO most of the fine - $150,000 - to promote the conservation and protection of fish habitat in the Réserve faunique des Laurentides and the Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, whose mission is to protect marine resources, takes the protection of fish habitat very seriously and will take legal action against offenders.
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