Commercial Salmon Harvester Sentenced for Fisheries Act Violations

Prestige II
An aerial photo of convicted commercial fisherman Garry Dean Stoner’s vessel, Prestige II. Image: Fisheries Aerial Surveillance and Enforcement Program/Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

A commercial fisherman has been sentenced to pay nearly $89,000 CAD after pleading guilty to 12 counts under the Fisheries Act for violations that occurred between June and September 2017 and in July and August 2018 in waters north of the Haida Gwaii island chain off of Canada’s northern Pacific coast.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada revealed Nov. 30 that commercial salmon harvester Garry Dean Stoner was ordered to pay $1,200 in court fines, plus $42,800 in penalties, to be directed towards fisheries management and the conservation and protection of fish and fish habitat.

An additional $44,644 penalty was added  by the judge in the case as recovery revenue obtained through the sales of the illegally caught Chinook salmon. Stoner was also prohibited from commercial salmon fishing for 18 months, according to the DFO.

An investigation into the incident was triggered by a routine fisheries inspection conducted in 2017. Fishery officers on board the Conservation and Protection enforcement platform, the CCGS Captain Goddard, boarded Stoner’s vessel, the F/V Prestige II, while it was actively engaged in the Area F commercial salmon troll fishery.

The subsequent investigation established that Stoner had failed to submit any Coho or Chinook salmon head between the three separate required landings; overfished his Chinook salmon quota; retained prohibited fish and violated other commercial license requirements.

In 2018, fishery officers conducted a further investigation of Mr. Stoner’s fishing activities during the 2018 commercial opening after reports of continued non-compliance with his license conditions, according to DFO.

In pronouncing sentencing, Justice Calvin Struyk said that Stoner’s unwillingness to comply with license conditions is an affront to all fishers attempting to comply with complicated license conditions.

“In the court’s view, Mr. Stoner’s flagrant non-compliance with license conditions justifies a salmon fishing prohibition,” the judge said.