| Toronto resident Jie Hua Shen is the owner of Marine Seafood Inc. He pleaded guilty on March 24 for the illegal importation of Florida softshell turtles.|
The turtles are prized for their meat, which has led to a sharp decline in their numbers. In 2009 the state of Florida banned their commercial fishing.
|A joint operation between US and Canada ended with the seizure of 40 live turtles, which were smuggled into Canada by Shen through his company.|
The turtles that were rescued had fish hooks inside their esophagi, further indicating they were captured illegally. Shen was found guilty in federal court for contraventions under the Customs Act and fined $18,000. He pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay a further $25,000 in the Ontario Court of Justice. Florida softshell turtles grow up to two-feet long with flat carapace that’s cloaked in leathery skin. The freshwater turtles are highly regarded for their meat, especially in Asia.