Canada is taking Fisheries Enforcement seriously,
December 20, 2021 – Vancouver B.C.
On November 12, 2021, in the B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, Scott Stanley Matthew Steer — a repeat offender under Canada’s Fisheries Act — was handed a lifetime prohibition against fishing and a prohibition against being onboard a fishing vessel. This is the first life-time ban for a Pacific Region fisherman in over a decade.
These lifetime prohibitions are the result of an incident on March 1, 2020 in Vancouver Harbour when Mr. Steer was found illegally fishing for crab and was arrested, along with 2 crew members, when his vessel was boarded after a high speed pursuit.
In addition to the life-time bans, the Honourable Justice Peter H. Edelmann ordered Mr. Steer to six months in jail, minus time served, an additional three years’ probation, including 12 months under curfew, and 75 hours of community work. The Judge additionally banned him from involvement in the purchasing or sale of fish, including brokering, for 5 years. And, he added a ban against Mr. Steer purchasing or selling a fishing vessel, and ordered the forfeiting of the aluminum vessel used in the illegal activity, with the approximate value of $50,000.
Mr. Steer, who has previously been handed extensive fishing bans by the Courts, is currently awaiting 2 outstanding trials in Nanaimo for alleged violations of the Fisheries Act.
One of the two crew members arrested with Mr. Steer, Sammy Williams, was also convicted for violations of the Fisheries Act on November 30, 2021 in Vancouver Court and will be sentenced in the new year. The other crew member, Cristopher Schill, pleaded guilty in a separate trial and will also be sentenced in early 2022.
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.
- Illegal fishing undermines the effective management of Canada’s fisheries, and threatens the sustainability of local fishing resources. It can hurt the economic prospects of coastal communities, recreational and commercial industries, as well as diminish the traditional food sources of Indigenous people.
- The commercial crab fishery accounts for almost one third of British Columbia’s wild shellfish products. Only crab caught under a licence may be purchased or sold, and it must be processed and inspected through a licensed plant to ensure it is safe for public consumption.
- Anyone with information about suspected violations of Canada’s Fisheries Act and regulations can call the Fisheries and Oceans Canada toll-free violation reporting line at 1-800-465-4336, or e-mail the details to DFO.ORR-ONS.MPO@dfo-mpo.gc.ca.