At 6:00 a.m. on March 28th, the wildlife protection officers of Québec's Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la faune (MRNF) ended the illegal activities of a group of poachers working mainly in the Mansonville area. More than 70 officers were involved in the operation.
The investigation began in 2005, and since then the wildlife protection force in the Eastern Townships and Montérégie has gathered the evidence needed to intercept the individuals concerned. Approximately thirty people have been questioned, and several more will be interviewed in the coming days.
So far, more than 60 charges have been laid. The individuals concerned, if found guilty, may face fines of up to $100,000. Thanks to the efforts of two dog and handler teams, a number of incriminating objects have been found to support the charges.
The people interviewed are suspected mainly of having bought and sold fish and game.
The searches carried out as part of the operation resulted in the seizure of fish, game, fishing equipment, fish preparing and sealing equipment and a snowmobile.
In addition to the people already interviewed, there is reason to believe that other individuals are also involved in similar illegal activities in neighbouring regions. Unless new evidence is found, however, they are likely to continue their illegal harvesting of Québec's wildlife resources.
The MRNF therefore invites the general public to continue to collaborate by calling S.O.S. Braconnage at 1 800 463-2191 or their nearest wildlife protection office www.mrnf.gouv.qc.ca/fr/faune-adresses-regions/  to report poaching or other activities that infringe wildlife and habitat protection regulations. The service is free of charge and fully confidential.