A $45,000 court order for fishing violations in restricted areas off Haida Gwaii has been issued through the Prince Rupert Provincial Court.
Silas Miro Levesque, commercial master of the vessel Wind Walker was found guilty of fishing for lingcod in a culturally significant closed area inside the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada stated on May 18 in a media release that it is a significant order. On Feb. 18, Levesque pleaded guilty to the occurrences between Oct. 30, 2018, and May 4, 2019, which were in contravention to Canada’s Fisheries Act. He was ordered to pay a fine of $20,000, however, the judge further ordered an additional $25,000 to go towards the conservations and protection of fish and fish habitat on and around Haida Gwaii. The case was finalized on April 21.
“According to electronic monitoring data, Mr. Levesque was fishing in a Strict Protection Zone that was closed to fishing as part of the marine zoning plan within the Land-Sea-People Management Plan,” Fisheries stated in the media release. “This area was identified as an ecologically important and culturally sensitive area adjacent to a Haida village site protected by the Haida Nation and Parks Canada, and is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The site commemorates the living culture of Haida people and their relationship to the land and sea.”
“Fisheries and Oceans Canada has the mandate to protect and conserve marine resources and to prosecute offenders under the Fisheries Act,” the government department stated. “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.”
K-J Millar | Journalist
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