May 10, 2004

Amendments will raise marine pollution fines to new maximum of $1M

OTTAWA, ONT-Amendments to the Migratory Birds Convention Act (1994), and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (1999) have been introduced to address more effectively enforcement issues relating to cases of marine pollution. The legislation will provide clarity for enforcement officials, as well as owners and operators of vessels in waters under Canadian jurisdiction, including the 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone. "Marine waters off Canada's coasts are among the world's richest in terms of seabird life, and we are determined to better protect them", said federal Environment Minister David Anderson, who tabled the legislation. "The legislation we are tabling today will raise fines to $1 million. It will also make the ships' officers accountable for their actions and help harmonize our approach with that of the United States." He added that the amendments will also "complement the Canada Shipping Act (2001) and allow for more co-operative enforcement actions." Environment Canada's research shows that more than 300,000 sea birds are being killed each year off the coast of Atlantic Canada as a result of the illegal discharge of oily bilge waste from passing ships.
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