A Buffalo Narrows man was recently fined $19,360 in Buffalo Narrows Provincial Court after pleading guilty to four charges under Saskatchewan’s Fisheries Act and Regulations.
Leon Morin was convicted for the unlawful marketing of fish caught by both commercial fishing and subsistence fishing. In addition to the fines, he received a two-year commercial fishing licence prohibition and a two-year probation during which time he cannot aid or assist anyone who is commercial fishing.
Morin must also report to the Ministry of Environment prior to subsistence fishing and report any fish caught within 24 hours.
The charges were laid as the result of an investigation by the ministry after information was received in 2012 relating to the abuse of walleye stocks in the Buffalo Narrows area. The abuse was occurring on a large scale and had the ability to affect the local walleye resource.
The ministry’s Investigations Unit stepped in and through the course of the investigation, undercover officers were approached by a Buffalo Narrows commercial fisherman who sold fish to them after the commercial fishing season had ended. Morin was subsequently charged.
“The Ministry of Environment takes illegal activity such as this very seriously,” Ministry of Environment Compliance and Field Services Enforcement Director Ken Aube said. “Left unchecked, entire populations can be decimated such as what happened to walleye populations at Big Peter Pond Lake several years ago. This impacts sport anglers, subsistence fishermen and legitimate commercial fishermen, who rely on the lake fishery to make a living.”
Fish may be purchased for personal consumption from a licenced commercial fisher or a fish dealer. By law, vendors have to provide a receipt that includes the seller’s name, address and licence number, the water body where the fish were caught, the fish species and form in which it was purchased (i.e. round, dressed or filleted), the quantity and sale price of the fish and the date of purchase.
Anyone approached to buy fish who believes the sale may not be legal is encouraged to contact the nearest Ministry of Environment office, the provinces’ toll-free Turn In Poachers TIP hotline at 1-800-667-7561 or #5555 for SaskTel cell phone subscribers, or report a violation online at www.saskatchewan.ca/conservation. Callers may be eligible for rewards through the SaskTip Reward Program.
The Ministry of Environment provides science-based solutions, compliance and mitigation measures aimed at protecting the environment, safeguarding communities and helping to ensure a better quality of life for all Saskatchewan residents.