OTTAWA – A Federal Court judge has ruled that the environment minister and the fisheries minister both broke the law by failing to enforce the Species at Risk Act.

In a case covering four species that Justice Anne Mactavish calls “the tip of the iceberg,” the court found there’s a major systemic problem in the two ministries charged with protecting endangered and threatened wildlife.

The 47-page ruling released Friday states that “public officials are not above the law. If an official acts contrary to a statute, the courts are entitled to so declare.”

At issue was a challenge brought by five environmental organizations, who asked the court to enforce provisions under the Species at Risk Act.

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By Bruce Cheadle, The Canadian Press
February 14, 2014