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Fisheries violations and the Contraventions Act ticketing regime

Using the Contraventions Act for ticketing fisheries violations is a simplified and more reasonable approach to handling minor offences.

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About the act

The Contraventions Act gives us more options to handle both commercial and recreational fisheries violations. It’s an alternative to using conviction procedures under the Criminal Code. These contraventions refer to certain federal offences that could be prosecuted under the various regulations related to the Fisheries Act.

Under the Criminal Code, enforcement officers have to prosecute offenders through the federal criminal process, even for minor violations. This route can be time-consuming and costly to the offender, but even more so to the government and justice systems. It also means a criminal record for the offender if convicted.

The formal court process is better for more serious offences or where deemed more appropriate in particular circumstances.

Benefits of the contraventions regime

Using this simplified procedure allows enforcement officers to:

Fines under the proposed ticketing system

You don’t have to appear in court if you plead guilty. You’ll only need to pay the fine associated with the offence identified on your ticket. This is a set fine amount ranging between $100 and $500.

For some offences, an additional amount would be added to the basic fine set for the particular offence. For example, if you’re ticketed with exceeding a quota, you may be fined $200 for the offence, and an additional $10 for each fish in excess of the quota.

It is important to remember that fishery officers will still have the discretion to choose the most appropriate enforcement tool given the circumstances of any offence, even those designated as contraventions. This means that a fishery officer could still proceed with charges, if the offence warrants it.

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