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Precedent-setting Fine for Joyrider Who Damaged Fish Habitat

August 12, 2011

AWA congratulates provincial and federal enforcement and legal staff for the successful prosecution of a man who, was caught driving his truck through the spawning grounds of endangered fish in Waiparous Creek west of Calgary. Damage to fish habitat by unregulated motorized use in the Ghost-Waiparous region is a daily occurrence, but prosecutions are extremely rare.

The Calgary man was yesterday fined $2000 for driving his truck in Waiparous Creek and damaging spawning grounds for threatened fish such as bull trout and cutthroat trout (see Calgary man fined $2,000 for ‘joyriding’ in trout-spawning rural creek, Calgary Herald, August 12, 2011).

AWA hopes that this may be a sign of a new and long-awaited commitment to enforcing regulations. While we recognize that current provincial legislation has long been inadequate to deal with rampant motorized abuse, at least there may be a renewed will to use federal legislation to get the job done. The sentencing, which will see the proceeds of the court fine go to the Ghost Watershed Alliance Society is also a promising sign.

Westslope cutthroat trout is considered a threatened species in Alberta. Bull trout has recently been recommended for listing as threatened.

No public hearings are scheduled. Only one Alberta organization, the Alberta Wilderness Association, is independent enough that it continues championing public land and the people's right of access to it. So people must speak individually, as they have so many times before, directly to the premier, the minister of Sustainable Resource Development and their MLA, and remind them of what public land means to all of us, that none of it is surplus to our needs, that we do not want it sold.
- Bob Scammell, 2003
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