$20K fine issued for ‘destroying fish habitat’ in the Bay of Quinte

View of the Bay of Quinte and Prince Edward County from the Skyway Bridge. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has levied a $20,000 fine in connection to a infill project they say destroyed a fish habitat on the Bay of Quinte. Alex Mazur / Global Kingston

Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has issued a $20,000 fine after officials say an infill project permanently destroyed a fish habitat along the shores of the Bay of Quinte.

The offending work was done in the spring of 2018 and saw infilling of an area roughly 22 metres wide along the shore and 18 metres out in the Bay of Quinte, adjacent to the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.

“This action permanently destroyed a wetted area and eliminated aquatic vegetation,” DFO said in a media release.

“This area had previously been home to a number of aquatic fish species for spawning, rearing, feeding, and cover.”

The department said Thursday an individual from the Belleville area was recently sentenced in the Ontario Court of Justice for violations of the Fisheries Act.

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The unnamed person was found guilty of carrying out work that resulted in serious harm to fish that are part of a commercial, recreational or Indigenous fishery, and failure to comply with the whole or part of a direction of an inspector or fishery officer.

The sentence includes a $20,000 fine, which will be given to the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte to be used for projects related to the conservation and protection of fish or fish habitat, or restoration of fish habitat.

The unnamed individual is also required to remove the infill in the area within 15 months of sentencing.

In 2019, the company hired by the individual to carry out the work, Tompkins Bros. Landscaping & Excavating, pleaded guilty to violations of the Fisheries Act and was ordered to pay a fine of $15,000.

Those funds were also directed to the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte.

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