Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

June 06, 2012 14:00 ET

Richmond Seafood Importer Fined $40,000 for Illegal Possession of Endangered Abalone

RICHMOND, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - June 6, 2012) - A former chef and owner of Kin Seafood Importing Corporation has been fined $40,000 for illegal possession of Northern abalone.

Kai Kin Ng was found guilty in Richmond Provincial Court May 15, 2012, of one count of illegal possession of Northern abalone, which is protected under the Species at Risk Act.

Ng was ordered to pay a fine of $40,000, with $35,000 directed to Fisheries and Oceans Canada to fund research into the illegal trafficking and distribution of Northern abalone. In addition, 280 kilograms of abalone, with an approximate retail value of $50,000, which was seized as evidence during the investigation, was forfeited to the Crown.

Judge Chen indicated that Ng, as a former chef, likely was aware of the difference between legal and illegal abalone species, and further noted that abalone importers have a duty to inform and educate themselves on the legal obligations around their industry.

Alerted about a shipment of abalone delivered to an air cargo facility in Vancouver on November 12, 2010, Fishery Officers from the Intelligence and Investigations Unit of Fisheries and Oceans Canada ascertained that the frozen seafood had been moved to a business premise in Richmond which contained a walk-in freezer leased to Kin Seafood Importers. When the officers investigated, the legally required documentation for the seafood was not made available.

Samples of the frozen abalone were sent to the Fisheries and Oceans Canada Molecular Genetics Lab at the Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo, British Columbia, for DNA analysis. Of the seven abalone samples submitted for genetic testing, five were confirmed to be endangered Northern abalone.

On December 16, 2010, Fishery Officers executed search warrants of Ng's residence and the same storage facility inspected earlier. At that time, 48 boxes of abalone (960 kilograms) were seized and DNA analysis confirmed the presence of more Northern abalone.

All abalone fisheries were closed in British Columbia in 1990, due to serious conservation concerns documented by scientists and fishery managers. In 2003, Northern abalone were listed and protected as Threatened under the Species at Risk Act, which aims to prevent endangered and threatened wildlife from becoming extinct, and to help in their recovery.

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) re-assessed Northern abalone in 2009 and designated the species as Endangered because there had been little or no recovery of the wild abalone population, particularly the larger reproductive animals. The species was up-listed to Endangered under the Species at Risk Act in 2011.

Despite continued efforts to rebuild abalone populations and prosecute individuals involved in illegal harvest and trade, Northern abalone show little sign of recovery. One of the greatest threats to Northern abalone survival in the wild continues to be illegal harvest, which is in turn driven by the illegal trade.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada acts to end illegal fishing and illegal sales 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 and Regulations or the Species at Risk Act. Anyone with information can call the toll-free violation reporting line at 1-800-465-4336.

Contact Information

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