Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Investigation into practices of commercial salmon harvester brings heavy fine, prohibition from fishing

Aerial photography of the Fishing Vessel Prestige II which was under
observation of DFO members in 2017 and 2018
(From DFO)

The Department of Fisheries and Ocean has released some background into a recent sentence handed out to  a North Coast commercial fisherman, a case file that led to two separate investigations into fishing practices off the coast of Haida Gwaii by the Fishing Vessel Pretige II and it's captain Garry Dean Stoner.

In the information release of today, it was noted  on July 2nd of this year, that Mr. Stoner entered a guilty plea on 12 counts of the Fisheries Act related to infractions that took place between June and September of 2017 and in July and August of 2019 in waters north of Haida. Gwaii.

As a result of the plea, The Honourable Justice Calvin Struyk ordered the commercial salmon harvester to pay $1,200 in court fines, plus $42,800 in penalties, to be directed towards fisheries management and the conservation and protection of fish and fish habitat. 

Justice Struyk included an additional $44,644 penalty to recover revenue obtained through the sales of the illegally caught Chinook salmon. 

Mr. Stoner was also prohibited from commercial salmon fishing for 18 months. 

As part of the enforcement operation, members of the CCGS Goddard
boarded the vessel under investigation

The original investigation was launched following a routine fisheries inspection in 2017 in which Fishery officers on board the Conservation and Protection enforcement platform, the mid shore Patrol vessel  CCGS Captain Goddard, boarded Mr. Stoner’s vessel, the F/V Prestige II, while it was actively engaged in the Area F commercial salmon troll fishery. 

The subsequent investigation established that Mr. Stoner had: failed to submit a single Coho or Chinook salmon head between the three separate required landings; overfished his Chinook salmon quota; retained prohibited fish, and violated other commercial licence requirements. 

The second investigation of 2018 was conducted by fishery officers of the Prince Rupert Conservation and Protection Detachment who examined Mr. Stoner's fishing activities during that year's commercial opening after reports of continued non-compliance with his licence conditions.

As part of the sentencing Justice Calvin Sturyk took note of a number of aspects of the case that resulted in the actions delivered.

“Mr. Stoner’s unwillingness to comply with licence conditions is an affront to all fishers attempting to comply with complicated licence conditions,” and “In the court’s view, Mr. Stoner’s flagrant non-compliance with licence conditions justifies a salmon fishing prohibition.”

More background into the investigation and court proceedings can be reviewed here.

Past enforcement  and judgments can be found from our Fishery archive page, as well as from our archive of the work of Emergency Responders across the Northwest.

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