ARCHIVED — Vol. 146, No. 6 — March 14, 2012

Registration

SOR/2012-21 March 2, 2012

FISHERIES ACT

Regulations Amending the Alberta Fishery Regulations, 1998

P.C. 2012-214 March 1, 2012

His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, pursuant to section 43 (see footnote a) and subsection 79.7(5) (see footnote b) of the Fisheries Act (see footnote c), hereby makes the annexed Regulations Amending the Alberta Fishery Regulations, 1998.

REGULATIONS AMENDING THE ALBERTA
FISHERY REGULATIONS, 1998

AMENDMENTS

1. Paragraph 5(b) of the Alberta Fishery Regulations, 1998 (see footnote 1) is replaced by the following:

  1. (b) is engaged in angling, caught the fish in the waters in which the person is angling, and the fish are within 5 m of those waters.

2. (1) Paragraph 13.1(p) of the French version of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

  1. p) la séparation des poissons selon leur espèce avant et pendant leur transport;

(2) Paragraph 13.1(r) of the French version of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

  1. r) les espèces et les tailles de poissons qui doivent être libérés et la façon de les libérer;

3. Schedule 9 to the Regulations is replaced by the Schedule 9 set out in the schedule to these Regulations.

COMING INTO FORCE

4. These Regulations come into force on the day on which they are registered.

SCHEDULE
(Section 3)

SCHEDULE 9
(Sections 35 and 36)

PRESCRIBED OFFENCES AND FINES

Item

Column 1

Provision of Regulations

Column 2


Description of Offence

Column 3


Fine ($)

1.

4

Fishing in closed waters

200

2.

5-6

Possessing live fish without authorization

200

3.

7

Failing to release unauthorised fish immediately or in a manner that causes least harm

100

4.

8

Placing in water bait not attached to a hook

50

5.

9

Fishing with prohibited light

150

6.

13

Sportfishing without authorization

100

7.

13

Fishing, other than sportfishing, without authorization

250

8.

15

Sportfishing in closed waters

200

9.

16

Catching and retaining more than daily quota

200, plus 50 for each fish in excess of the quota to a maximum of 10 fish

10.

17

Exceeding possession limit

200, plus 50 for each fish in excess of possession limit to a maximum of 10 fish

11.

19(a)

Angling with more than three hooks on a line

50

12.

19(b)

Angling with a hook with more than three points on a common shaft

50

13.

19(c)

Angling with a lure with more than three hooks as part of it

50

14.

19(d)

Angling with more than one line in open water

100

15.

19(e)

Angling with more than two lines in ice-covered water

100

16.

19(f)

Angling with spring-loaded hook

100

17.

19(g)

Angling using prohibited fish as bait

200

18.

20(a)

Fishing by snagging

200

19.

20(b)

Possessing fish taken by snagging

200

20.

20(c)

Possessing a snagging device

200

21.

20(d)

Possessing a gaff hook while angling

200

22.

21

Being more than 30 m from any line in water

50

23.

22

Angling through ice in specified waters

200

24.

23

Sportfishing with prohibited gear

100 for the use of a hook, except a barbless hook. For all other offences of prohibited gear, 200

25.

23

Sportfishing with prohibited bait

200

26.

24

Fishing with dip net for fish other than bait fish

200

27.

24

Fishing with seine net for fish other than bait fish

200

28.

24

Fishing with minnow trap for fish other than bait fish

200

29.

24

Fishing with dip net in prohibited waters

150

30.

24

Fishing with seine net in prohibited waters

150

31.

24

Fishing with minnow trap in prohibited waters

150

32.

25

Fishing with improperly marked minnow trap

100

33.

25

Fishing with oversized minnow trap

150

34.

25

Fishing with more than two minnow traps

150

35.

26

Fishing with oversized seine net

150

36.

27

Fishing with bow and arrow for prohibited species

150

37.

27

Fishing with cross bow

150

38.

28

Fishing with spear using prohibited means of propulsion

150

39.

28

Fishing with spear while not swimming

150

40.

28

Fishing with spear for prohibited species

150

REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT

(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)

Issue and objectives

The Alberta Fishery Regulations, 1998 (the Regulations), made pursuant to the Fisheries Act, apply to the proper management and control of fisheries and the conservation and protection of the fish in the province of Alberta.

The amendments to the Regulations address three issues:

  1. (a) Currently, the Regulations allow fish taken by means of angling to be possessed up to 100 m from the waters from which they were taken. The distance between the water body where live fish have been taken and where they can be possessed is too large. The reason this distance is too large is because even if anglers respect the 100 m maximum distance, a fish caught in one water body could be intentionally or unintentionally moved to another water body where the species is not present. This distance also makes enforcement and compliance activities more difficult to conduct and less effective, since most enforcement activities take place near the shore. This makes compliance monitoring more difficult, especially if fishers can move live fish a significant distance from the shore of the water body from where the fish was caught. This issue is in the context of the negative impacts and rising occurrence, either intentionally or unintentionally, of the illegal introduction of fish species into water bodies (from which the fish did not originate) in Alberta.

  2. (b) A number of fines in the Regulations are not current, and do not act as an appropriate deterrent to illegal fishing activities (e.g. overfishing). As well, the short form descriptions of the offences are not always clear in the Regulations, which has made it difficult for enforcement officers to interpret the provisions. Therefore, changes have been made to both the description of the offences, and the actual fine amounts.

  3. (c) The Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations (SJCSR), under the authority of the Statutory Instruments Act, reviewed the Regulations and found discrepancies between the English and French wording of the Regulations. Specifically, the English wording is more consistent with the intent of the Regulations, and therefore changes were made to the French wording.

The amendments to the Regulations are intended to achieve three objectives:

  1. (a) Deter anglers from releasing fish into bodies of water other than the waters they were taken from, by further restricting where live fish can be possessed;

  2. (b) Increase the fine amounts for offences where the current fines are not considered to be in line with other jurisdictions or where the fines may be insufficient to deter illegal fishing activity; and

  3. (c) Respond to the SJCSR’s concerns by adding clarity to the French version of the Regulations.

The amendments ensure the Regulations accurately reflect the current management of the fishery.

Description and rationale

The amendments further restrict the possession of live fish taken by anglers, modify the fine amounts for several offences where the current fines are not considered appropriate, and amend one section of the Regulations to ensure the French and English versions properly reflect the Regulations’ intent.

The following is a detailed explanation of the amendments to the Regulations:

Paragraph 5(b): Possession and use of live fish

The Regulations had previously allowed fish taken by means of angling to be possessed up to 100 m from the waters from which they were taken. However, paragraph 5(b) has been amended to narrow that distance to 5 m. The change was suggested by stakeholders, and is intended to deter the illegal stocking of live fish (to waters other than the waters from which they were taken). Fish species have been unlawfully transferred into water bodies and into drainages where these species do not exist naturally; this activity affects the quality of existing fisheries and has ecological implications. Therefore, reducing the distance between the shores of the water body where the fish has been caught and where it can be possessed reduces the risk of introducing the caught fish to a new water body, and improves the effectiveness of compliance and enforcement activities. These amendments still allow anglers to conduct their activities, and do not impact current fishing or sporting tournaments and events, as Alberta has provincial laws (see footnote 2) that address these activities.

Schedule 9: Prescribed offences and fines

Schedule 9 of the Regulations is a table that outlines the prescribed offences and fines for anglers. The amendments to Schedule 9 clarify wording to more accurately describe the offence of failing to return a prohibited fish to waters from which it was caught. Other amendments adjust certain fines to be more or less punitive.

The amendments to Schedule 9 of the Regulations make specific changes to

  1. (a) increase the prescribed fine amounts for exceeding daily catch, and possession limits. Previously this fine was set at $100, plus $20 for each fish in excess of the quota to a maximum of $1000. The new fines are listed as $200 for this offence, plus $50 for each fish in excess of the quota to a maximum of 10 fish. (see footnote 3)
  2. (b) increase the prescribed fine amount for angling using too many lines (in open water or in ice covered water) from $50 for each offence to $100. (see footnote 4)
  3. (c) split the current fine, which is $200 for both barbed hooks versus other prohibited equipment, into two separate parts. The first fine addresses the offence for the use of a hook except a barbless hook, listing the fine as $100. All other offences regarding prohibited equipment, which address the use of illegal sportfishing gear, will remain at $200. The offence of using a barbed hook is quite minor when compared to the use of other illegal sportfishing gear. The reduced fine better reflects the nature of the offence because this offence has limited impacts on a fishery.

  4. (d) amend one offence description in Schedule 9 to clarify the offence of “Release of prohibited fish.” The description of the offence was too broad to be properly understood (even implying that no fish could ever be brought home).

Where the fine amounts are increased, anglers are more likely to be deterred from contravening fishing regulations. Alberta’s waters are under significant pressure, and can be vulnerable to the impact of over-fishing. These amendments therefore help to improve the conservation of Alberta’s fishery resources.

Part 2: Authority to Fish — English-French concurrence

The SJCSR pointed out to Fisheries and Oceans Canada that the language used in the English version of the Regulations is more in line with the regulatory intent and much more extensive in its application. The amendments for Part 2: Authority to Fish change the French version of the Regulations to reflect the intent of the English version of the Regulations. This ensures that the two versions of the Regulations are more harmonized.

Consultation

The proposal to further restrict the possession of live fish [paragraph 5(b)] was submitted by angling stakeholders, as these groups were concerned about the loss of fisheries due to the introduction of invasive species, and the potential for those species to spread beyond their present distribution. The distance of 5 m was an arbitrary distance chosen by stakeholders.

The proposal to amend paragraph 5(b) was sent to members of the Alberta Fisheries Management Roundtable for review (and further distribution to their members) with invitations to attend local consultation meetings. There are approximately 80 members invited to attend the Roundtable, and most are representatives of fisheries stakeholder organizations including numerous societies, industries, aboriginal groups, and sport and commercial groups at the local and regional level. The recommendation to tighten the restrictions on the possession of live fish to 5 m was approved by the provincial minister of sustainable resource development in early 2010. No significant concerns or comments were received by members of the Alberta Fisheries Management Roundtable that would suggest a negative reaction by stakeholders and/or the public.

Pre-publication in the Canada Gazette, Part Ⅰ

The Regulations were pre-published in the Canada Gazette, Part Ⅰ, on October 8, 2011, followed by a 30-day comment period and no comments were received.

Implementation, enforcement and service standards

The amendment will not generate any new costs in terms of enforcement, as no additional enforcement resources are required to implement the amendment.

The amendments will be communicated to the angling community and the public through press releases. The new distance of 5 m, which restricts the possession and use of live fish, as well as the amended offence description listed in schedule 9, will both be published in the 2012 Alberta Guide to Sportfishing Regulations to inform anglers of these changes.

All the amendments to the prescribed offences and fines in schedule 9 will be published in the Specified Penalty Listing to inform officers of the new fines and short descriptions of the offences. Anyone wishing to have a copy can contact the Alberta Queen’s Printer.

Contacts

Samia Hirani
Regulatory Analyst
Legislative and Regulatory Affairs
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
Telephone: 613-990-0122
Email: samia.hirani@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Pat Dunford
Head
Legislative and Advisory Services
Enforcement-Field Services Branch
Fish and Wildlife Division
Edmonton, Alberta
Telephone: 780-427-4277
Email: Pat.Dunford@gov.ab.ca

Footnote a
S.C. 1991, c. 1, s. 12

Footnote b
S.C. 1991, c. 1, s. 24

Footnote c
R.S., c. F-14

Footnote 1
SOR/98-246

Footnote 2
Paragraph 5(a) of the Alberta Fishery Regulations allows an exception to the proposed amendment to 5(b), which allows an angler to possess live fish if they are authorized to do so under the provincial Act. In Alberta, the provincial Minister has the authority to set terms and conditions for a licence, which would allow an angler to possess live fish for sporting tournaments and events under the following pieces of legislation and regulation: Fisheries (Alberta) Act, General Fisheries (Alberta) Regulation, and Fisheries (Ministerial) Regulation.

Footnote 3
For anglers who exceed daily catch quotas and possession limits, the proposed fine increase (of a $200 fine plus $50 per fish to a maximum of 10 fish) aligns the fines of the Regulations with the provincial specified penalty established for the General Fisheries (Alberta) Regulation (AR 203/97) offence of keeping fish without holding an applicable special fish harvest licence and tag. Saskatchewan has a fine of $100 plus $25 per fish to a maximum of $1,000. British Columbia has a fine of $100 plus $50 per fish to a maximum of $1,000.

Footnote 4
British Columbia has a fine of $150, and Saskatchewan has a fine of $50 plus $25 per extra line up to a maximum of $1,000.