NANAIMO, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Jan. 29, 2014) - A commercial fishing boat master found guilty for the third time in the past six years of serious offences against the Fisheries Act, was sentenced on November 26, 2013, to six months in prison (concurrent on multiple counts), a $15,000 fine, and a 10-year prohibition from fishing in Canadian or U.S. waters.
On June 26, 2013, in Nanaimo Provincial Court, the Honourable Judge Ted Gouge found Scott Stanley Matthew Steer guilty of seven counts related to various illegal fishing activities. The multiple convictions stemmed from fishing activity conducted by Mr. Steer between July 2010 and January 2011 when he was master of the commercial ground fish harvesting vessel, the Pacific Titan. The illegal acts occurred in various locations around Vancouver Island and in Dawson Creek. They include selling tuna, halibut and sablefish that were caught without a licence, and multiple other violations of the conditions of his commercial fishing licence.
- eight days of evidence;
- 11 civilian witnesses and two fishery officers testified on behalf of the Crown;
- witnesses included business owners from Worldwide Seafoods and French Creek Seafoods; and
- Archipelago Marine Research, which provides electronic onboard catch monitoring for the commercial fishing industry, also testified for the Crown.
Justice Gouge noted that: "I have been provided with victim impact statements from representatives from the fishing industry, deploring Mr. Steer's conduct and requesting that I impose a serious penalty on him." He further urged that: "For the reasons put forward in those statements, the industry, in its own interest, should act to encourage whistle-blowers."
The Government of Canada is committed to safeguarding the long-term health and productivity of Canada's fisheries resources, and the habitat that supports them, for generations to come. Fisheries and Oceans Canada has a mandate to protect and conserve marine resources and to prosecute offenders under the Fisheries Act. It ensures and promotes compliance with the Act and other laws and regulations through a combination of land, air, and sea patrols, as well as education and awareness activities. As part of Fisheries and Oceans Canada's work to end illegal activity, the Department asks the public for information on activities of this nature or any contravention of the Fisheries Act and regulations. Anyone with information can call the toll-free violation reporting line at 1-800-465-4336.
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