A man from Quebec is facing a $20,000 fine and house arrest after 45 fossils from several B.C. national parks were found in his home.
Parks Canada officials said the investigation was launched in 2020 after Lake Louise park wardens received a tip regarding the incident.
A search warrant was later executed at a private home in Montreal by La Mauricie National Park and Quebec Waterways wardens along with Longueuil police on Nov. 20, 2020.
The search recovered the 45 fossils, which officials note mostly came from an area of the Burgess Shale in Kootenay National Park that is not accessible to the public.
Parks Canada officials said an expert with the Royal Ontario Museum identified the fossils as being from sites within Kootenay, Yoho and Jasper national parks.
The man now faces a $20,000 fine and a five-month conditional sentence which includes a curfew order.
“This is the largest fine that has been levied to date for the removal of fossils from the Burgess Shale and demonstrates the seriousness of the offence and the importance of this site,” said Parks Canada officials.
“The money from the fine will go to the Environmental Damages Fund and be used to support projects that restore nature and conserve wildlife and habitats.”
According to the Canada National Parks Act, the removal of fossils, plants or animals from a national park is illegal.
A majority of the fossils found in B.C.’s various shale deposits date back to the middle Cambrian period, about 512 to 520-million years ago.