April 10, 2014: Two Richmond Hill men received a total of $20,750 in fines
and probation orders for illegally possessing lake sturgeon eggs and meat.
Denis Zehovoy and Ilia Kazatchkov pleaded guilty to illegally possessing lake sturgeon
eggs and meat. They were each fined $10,000 and are prohibited for the next five
years from being within three metres of the Mississagi River in the Town of Blind
River. Zehovoy also pleaded guilty to making a false statement to a conservation
officer and was fined $750.
The court heard that on September 22, 2013, Blind River District conservation officers
stopped three anglers in a vehicle as they were travelling back to Toronto. Zehovoy
claimed they were transporting only salmon. Upon inspecting the vehicle, conservation
officers located a box containing 27 pounds of sturgeon eggs and four pounds of
Further investigation revealed that Zehovoy and Kazatchkov had been fishing in Blind
River the previous weekend. They stayed with a Blind River resident and expressed
an interest in getting sturgeon eggs, knowing it was illegal to possess them. Zehovoy
and Kazatchkov arranged to meet the individual on September 22, at which time they
received the eggs and meat.
Justice of the Peace Darlene Hayden heard the case in the Ontario Court of Justice,
Blind River, on March 26, 2014.
The lake sturgeon population in the Great Lakes-Upper St. Lawrence River is listed
as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. It is illegal to possess plants
or animals listed as threatened under the act.