An individual has been fined $40,000 for engaging in the illegal trade of an endangered species


The Quebec component of an investigation into the illegal trade of Queen Conches, initiated in October 2006 by Environment Canada, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and fisheries officers from the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, ended in a guilty verdict and a fine totalling $40,000 for Michael Angelakis. This investigation was conducted in Quebec by Environment Canada’s Wildlife Enforcement Directorate from several regions in the country.

Angelakis, 31, from Laval, was found guilty on Monday, September 26, in Montréal Provincial Court. Angelakis was accused of importing a shipment of Queen Conches (Strombus gigas) into Canada without an export permit under the Columbia Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Not having a CITES permit is a violation under the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act.

Following a joint declaration of facts, Angelakis was given a $40,000 fine payable to the Environmental Damages Fund. In consideration of this, Angelakis was given an absolute discharge by the court.

The Queen Conch, also known as the pink conch, is a large local mollusc—the flesh of which is highly sought after—found in the waters of 36 Caribbean countries. The species is protected under the CITES.

Operation Shell Game, which began in 2006, required the participation of wildlife officers from Environment Canada and Florida. Canadian and U.S. border authorities also contributed to the investigation.  

CITES is an international agreement that regulates the trade of certain wild animal and plant species, including their parts, organs and by-products. In Canada, CITES is enforced under theWild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act.