Earlier this week in provincial court, Gregory (Greg) Logan, of Woodmans Point, New Brunswick, was convicted of seven counts for offences related to the illegal export of about 250 Narwhal ivory tusks to the United States.

The offences were committed over a period of seven years, and as a result of the courts findings Mr. Logan was sentenced to pay a penalty of $385,000.  At close to a half a million dollars the monetary penalty is the largest in Canada for offences under the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA).

In addition to the $385,000 penalty, Mr. Logan must serve an eight-month conditional sentence to be served in the community, including four months of house arrest. Mr. Logan is prohibited from possessing or purchasing marine mammal products for a period of 10 years. Mr. Logan is also required to forfeit items used to smuggle the tusks across the Canada-United States border, including a truck and trailer seized during the investigation.

In Canada, only Inuit may harvest Narwhal, which is a source of food and income in northern communities. The harvest and transport of tusks is regulated to ensure that legal trade continues to remain viable and sustainable.

The Narwhal, often referred to as “the unicorn of the sea”, is recognized as a species of special concern by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. It is also listed as a protected species under Appendix II of the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES, an international agreement, sets controls on the movement of animal and plant species that are, or may be, threatened due to excessive commercial exploitation.

Operation Longtooth, a two-and-a-half-year investigation, began in April 2009, when Environment Canada’s Enforcement Branch received information from enforcement agencies in the United States regarding the illegal purchase of Narwhal tusks in that country which had originated from Canada. The investigation involved enforcement agencies from across Canada and the United States, producing evidence of ongoing smuggling of Narwhal tusks from Canada to buyers in the United States.

SOURCE Environment Canada

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