A Prince Rupert court has fined a man $45,000 for fishing in a culturally significant area inside the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site.
On April 21, Prince Rupert Provincial Court ruled against Silas Miro Levesque, commercial master of the vessel Wind Walker.
The Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site is cooperatively managed by the Council of the Haida Nation and the Government of Canada (Parks Canada/DFO) through the Archipelago Management Board.
The Gwaii Haanas marine area was officially designated a National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site in 2010.
Levesque was found guilty of fishing for lingcod in a culturally significant closed area.
The violations of Canada’s Fisheries Act occurred between October 30, 2018, and May 4, 2019.
The Judge further ordered that Levesque pay an additional $25,000 as a 79.2 court order, to go towards the conservation and protection of fish and fish habitat on and around Haida Gwaii.
According to electronic monitoring data, Levesque was fishing in a Strict Protection Zone that was closed to fishing as part of the marine zoning plan within the Land-Sea-People Management Plan.
This area was identified as an ecologically important and culturally sensitive area adjacent to a Haida village site protected by the Haida Nation and Parks Canada, and is recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
The site commemorates the living culture of Haida people and their relationship to the land and sea.