$6,500 in Fines for Illegally Importing Live Leeches into Ontario

 

Two commercial bait dealers from Anglers Pro Shop in Nestor Falls have been fined for baitfish-related offences.

 

Margitta McLeod and Luc Levesque of Fort Frances pleaded guilty and were each fined $3,000 for illegally importing live leeches into Ontario. Levesque was also fined $500 for not maintaining a commercial bait licence log book, as required by the ministry.

 

The court heard that on June 27, 2015, McLeod entered Canada at Fort Frances Customs. During a secondary inspection of her vehicle, two bags of live leeches weighing 20 kilograms were discovered.  An ensuing joint investigation involving the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and the Canada Border Services Agency revealed that the leeches, purchased by McLeod in Orr, Minnesota, were being illegally imported for intended sale at Anglers Pro Shop. It was further determined that Levesque, owner of the bait store, was party to the offence. The investigation also found that Levesque was not maintaining proper documentation of his bait acquisitions and sales, as required by the conditions of his commercial baitfish harvester’s licence.

 

Justice of the Peace Pat Clysdale-Cornell heard the case in the Ontario Court of Justice, Fort Frances, on March 11, 2016.

 

The Ministry reminds the public that importing live organisms can threaten aquatic ecosystems by introducing invasive species, and transmitting pathogens such as parasites, viruses and bacteria not native to Ontario.

 

To report a natural resources violation, call the MNRF TIPS line at 1-877-847-7667 toll-free any time or contact your local ministry office during regular business hours. You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

 

 

Mark Gadawski, Fort Frances Enforcement Unit, 807-274-8630

Kevin Elliott, Fort Frances Enforcement Unit, 807-274-8640

 

ontario.ca/mnrf

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