Eco-tour operator receives $ 75,000 in penalties – Haida Gwaii Observer

Prince Rupert Provincial Court fined the CEO of Sandspit Adventures $ 75,000 for five violations in 2019 of the federal Fisheries Act and the Provincial Fish and Seafood Act.

On December 7, Judge David Patterson ordered Chad James Whiteside to pay a fine of $ 45,000 by December 31, 2024, for “the purchase, sale, trade, barter or offer of buy, sell, trade or barter uncaught and retained fish under the authority of a license issued for the purpose of commercial fishing. In addition, for other charges, he was ordered to pay $ 20,000 before December 7, 2022 and an additional $ 10,000 before December 7, 2023.

Sandpit Adventures was then owned by 1369277 Alberta Ltd., an Alberta company that was registered in British Columbia as an extra-provincial company. The Fishing Lodge, located on Haida Gwaii in Sandspit, hosts fishing activities and eco tours from Skidegate Inlet to Cartwright Sound.

Whiteside, who had been the managing director since 2017, has since bought the company, in January 2020,

Fishery officers discovered in 2019 that fish caught by lodge guests, at their request and sometimes on instruction from staff, was prepared by the kitchen and given to guests contrary to section 35 (2) of the Fishery Regulations. (general).

Officers further determined that in addition to Sandspit Adventures allowing its guests to eat recreationally caught fish at mealtimes, the company did not have a labeling and labeling system in place. proper storage, as required by the Fish and Seafood Licensing Regulations, resulting in multiple violations under the Fish and Seafood Act.

Specifically, fish caught for recreational purposes were sometimes not correctly labeled with the species of fish, the date of processing and the name of the fisherman who caught it.

It was discovered that fishing guides had brought in fish and stored it at the lodge for kitchen use on the owner’s instructions.

Patterson considered Whiteside’s “moral culpability” to be “in the middle of the scale” because the judge found the man did not intend to break the law, but neither did he Most attempted to contact Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to ensure Sandspit Adventures policies and practices were in accordance with federal laws.

“I was horrible with my staff. I did not watch them [or] how they caught their fish, ”Whiteside told an Aug. 11 hearing.

“I accept that Mr. Whiteside feels horrible for breaking the law and that Sandspit Adventures did it out of ignorance and Mr. Whiteside’s failure to properly research what he was getting himself into,” said Patterson. “Sir. Whiteside clearly did not know what the actual rules were for operating a fishing and eco-tourism business like Sandspit Adventures. In other words, there was a breach of due diligence.

“The damage and injury done in this particular case, which the offenses Mr. Whiteside did did, made it possible to remove commercial grade supplies from the recreational supply and then feed them into the restaurant operated by Sandspit Adventures. “

The result of the infractions gave Sandspit Adventures a competitive advantage over other fishing lodges on Haida Gwaii, which otherwise would have cost them thousands of dollars spent on purchasing commercial fish, the judge added.

Normand Galimski | Journalist
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