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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.

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There is an urgent need to engage people with nature. All aspects of it. Not just the pretty bears and cute snakes. Also the realities of it, the death, struggles, and pain. Not only are people losing touch with nature, they are losing touch with the realities of nature.
- Clayton Lamb, January 2018
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