Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

December 21, 2011 13:05 ET

Recreational Halibut Fishers Fined $5,000 for Fisheries Offences in Port Renfrew

DUNCAN, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Dec. 21, 2011) - Two Vancouver Island recreational halibut anglers received fines totaling $5,000 after pleading guilty in Duncan Provincial Court to numerous offences under the Fisheries Act.

Nolan Wilks pleaded guilty October 6, 2011, to disturbing Stellar sea lions, a contravention of the Marine Mammal Regulations. He also pleaded guilty to exceeding the daily limit for halibut and obstructing a fishery officer. Mr.Wilks was fined $2,000 for disturbing the Stellar sea lions, and $500 for each of the other two counts. His co-accused, Campbell Egles-McKinnon, pleaded guilty earlier in the year to exceeding the daily limit for halibut and obstructing a fishery officer, and was fined $2,000 for both offences.

The case stems from an incident August 23, 2010. A Parks Canada Warden contacted Fisheries and Oceans Canada fishery officers on that day to report a recreational fishing vessel observed harassing Stellar sea lions near Carmanah Point in Pacific Rim National Park. The vessel's occupants were observed chasing Stellar sea lions away from off their haul-out point by approaching within 10 metres and throwing objects at them. Stellar sea lions are listed as a species of special concern under the Species At Risk Act. Consistent with the Act and Canada's Marine Mammal Regulations, a Parks Canada Order prohibits anyone from approaching within 100 metres of Sea Lion Rock where the mammals were disturbed.

The fishery officers located and identified the vessel later in the day at a Port Renfrew dock. On inspection of the vessel, Mr. Wilks and Mr. Eagles-McKinnon were also found to be in possession of 18 halibut. There is a daily allowable limit of one fish. Both men were additionally charged with obstruction of a fishery officer by making false statements and interfering with evidence, and the halibut were seized.

The fines totaling $5,000 were directed by the Court to the Port Renfrew Salmon Enhancement Society while the forfeited halibut were donated to a Victoria Food Bank and the SPCA's Wild Animal Rescue Centre.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada acts to end illegal activities that have an impact on fish and fish habitat. As part of this work, the Department asks the general public to report suspected illegal activities of this nature or any contravention of the Fisheries Act and Regulations. Anyone with information about a violation can call the Fisheries and Oceans toll-free 24-hour reporting line at 1-800-465-4336. The public can also call this number to report illegal and suspicious activities involving Steller sea lions, and any other species protected under the Species at Risk Act.

Contact Information

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Region
    Leri Davies
    Strategic Media Relations Advisor
    (604) 666-8675 or Cell: 604-612-6837