Haida Gwaii eco-tourist fined $75,000 – BC News

Norman Galimski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View – | History: 355528

Prince Rupert Provincial Court fined the general manager 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 “buying, selling, trading, bartering or offering to buy, sell, trade or barter fish not caught and retained under the authority of a license issued for the purpose of commercial fishing, and on other counts he was ordered to pay $20,000 by December 7 2022 and an additional $10,000 by December 7, 2023.

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

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

Fishery officers discovered in 2019 that fish caught by lodge guests, at their request and sometimes under the direction of staff, was prepared by the kitchen and given to guests contrary to Lodge Regulation 35(2). fishing (general).

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

Specifically, recreationally caught fish were sometimes incorrectly labeled with the fish species, date of processing, and the name of the fisherman who caught it.

It was discovered that fishing guides had brought in fish and stored them at the lodge for the use of the kitchen under the direction of the owner.

Patterson considered Whiteside’s ‘moral responsibility’ to be ‘in the middle of the scale’ because the judge found the man had no intention of breaking the law, but neither did he. attempted to contact Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to ensure that Sandspit Adventures’ policies and practices complied with federal laws.

“I was terrible with my staff. I didn’t watch them [or] how they caught their fish,” Whiteside told an August 11 hearing.

“I accept that Mr. Whiteside feels horrible that he broke the law and that Sandspit Adventures did it out of ignorance and because Mr. Whiteside didn’t properly research what he was getting into,” Patterson said. . “Mr. Whiteside clearly did not know what the actual rules of operating a fishing and ecotourism business such as Sandspit Adventures were. In other words, there was a breach of due diligence. reasonable.

“The damage and harm caused in this particular case, which Mr. Whiteside’s breaches did, resulted in the commercial level supplies being removed from the recreational offering and then provided to the restaurant run by Sandspit Adventures. “

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