U.S. angler fined $2.5K for illegally importing baitfish into Ontario

Peter Alan Cich of Alborn, Minnesota, pleaded guilty to illegally bringing live minnows into Ontario to use as bait.

Court heard that on November 14, 2015, conservation officers contacted Cich while on routine patrol in Sabaskong Bay, Lake of the Woods, where Cich was angling. During the inspection, the officers located a pail full of live shiner minnows. Cich claimed to have bought the shiner minnows at an Ontario baitfish dealer and provided a receipt for the minnows, which appeared to be authentic. Further investigation revealed that he had actually bought the minnows in the United States and imported them into Ontario. The receipt provided to the officers during the inspection was falsely created by Cich, and included an authentic-looking Ontario baitfish dealers stamp.

Justice of the Peace, Thomas Logan, heard the case in the Ontario Court of Justice in Kenora, on March 1, 2016.

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).

Source: MNRF

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