A Calgarian is the first person ever to be convicted under the National Parks Act for attempting to export fossils, minerals and gemstones to Japan.

On August 20, 2011, Terry Ciotka and Pangaea Fossils Ltd. tried to export a number of items, specifically Burgess Shale, ammonite fossil and ammolite gemstones to Japan.

Canada Border Service Agency officials became suspicious of the declared value and lack of proper export permits and notified RCMP.

The subsequent investigation resulted in the following charges:

  • s. 40 Cultural Property Export and Import Act (CPEIA): No person shall export or attempt to export from Canada any object included in the Control List except under the authority of and in accordance with a permit issued under this Act. Fined $1,500.00
  • s. 42(2)(c) Cultural Property Export and Import Act (CPEIA): No person shall wilfully furnish any false or misleading information or knowingly make any misrepresentation (c) in connection with the use of a permit issued under this Act or the disposition of any object to which such permit relates. Fined $1,500.00
  • s. 25(1) Canada National Parks Act: (1) Except as permitted by this Act or the regulations, no person shall traffic in any wild animal, whether living or dead, at any developmental stage, in any part of or any derivative of, or in any egg or embryo of, a wild animal — or in any plant or part of a plant or in any other naturally occurring object or product of natural phenomena — taken in or from a park. Fined $4,000.00

Ciotka was also charged under the Cultural Property Export and Import Act for offences related to the ammolite and ammonite.

This is the first time that charges have been made under violation of the National Parks Act, which was struck in 2000.

Ciotka pleaded guilty to the charges on June 3 and has been fined $7,000.

Burgess Shale fossils are named specifically for their proximity to Mount Burgess in Yoho National Park. They are estimated to be about 500 million years old.

Ammonite is a prehistoric marine animal thought to have become extinct about 65 million years ago. Ammolite is essentially a gemstone formed from the shells of ammonites.

It has been the official gemstone of the Province of Alberta since 2004.

There are only two ammolite mines in Canada and they are both in Alberta.