Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

B.C. judge upholds $96K in fishery fines

Two men and a fishing company were fined for salmon fishery offences around Haida Gwaii.
B.C. Supreme Court has rejected appeals from two men and a company convicted of salmon fishing offences.

B.C.’s Supreme Court has upheld almost $96,000 in fishery fines against two men and a company for fishing offences around Haida Gwaii in 2018 and 2019.

The appellants claimed regulations made under the federal Fisheries Act were unlawful and that their sentences should be varied, claiming there had been additional fines.

The Feb. 2 decision from Justice Miriam Maisonville regarded two appeals of fines laid in provincial court in two 2022 provincial court cases.

The first provincial court ruling

In one decision, Judge David Patterson found that Adam Munro, Silas Levesque and ATM Fishing Ltd. exceeded their chinook salmon quota as set out in the federal Fisheries Act. Patterson said those offences occurred between July 22 and Aug. 9, 2018, near Masset on Haida Gwaii.

Patterson found that Munro, Levesque, and ATM possessed fish caught in contravention of the act or its regulations. Those offences happened between July 22 and Aug. 15, 2018, near Masset or elsewhere in B.C.

The judge ruled that Levesque, as master of the Wind Walker I, failed to comply with a licence condition. That condition required him to submit data forms known as fish slips no later than seven days after landing. Those events took place between July 28, 2018 and Nov. 5, 2019, near Masset, Patterson said in his Jan. 6 decision.

The judge said throughout 2018, Munro was the owner of the Wind Walker I, a vessel licensed to participate in B.C.’s Salmon Area F Salmon Troll Fishery.  Levesque was the skipper. The vessel's licence conditions allowed for the catch and retention of 390 chinook salmon in 2018.

According to the ruling, on July 22, 2018, 357 chinook salmon were offloaded from the Wind Walker I in Prince Rupert. Then, on Aug 8, 2018, 327 chinook were offloaded. That's 294 more fish than allowed.

The second provincial court ruling

In the second case, Patterson found that the Crown had proven four charges under the act against Munro and 605463 B.C. Ltd.

Michael Andrew Bullock is the sole director and officer of 605463 B.C. Ltd., Patterson said. Munro was the skipper or vessel master of the Winter Wind.

The charges were: exceeding the maximum quota, between July 22, 2018 and Aug. 11, 2018, near Masset; failing to ensure that catch service logs were delivered between April 30, 2019 and July 17, 2019; selling fish caught in contravention of the act; and possessing fish caught in contravention of the act.

On July 22, 2018, Munro and 605463 B.C. Ltd. offloaded 346 chinook salmon caught on the Winter Wind. They were left with a remaining quota of 44, unless another licence holder transferred a share of their total allowable catch to the Winter Wind.

It had been anticipated that a quota transfer to the Winter Wind was going to occur.

However, that didn’t happen and, on Aug. 11, 2018, the vessel was 217 chinook salmon over its limit.

“Therefore, 217 were illegally fished for, possessed and sold,” Patterson said.

Appeals dismissed

Justice Maisonville dismissed both grounds of appeal.

She said the application of the regulations and any delegation of them was not unlawful.

On the imposition of additional fines, Maisonville said the law allows a sentencing judge discretion in levying additional fines.

“It was found that financial benefits flowed to the appellants as a matter of their negligence and lack of due diligence, and I would not disturb this result,” Maisonville ruled.