A commercial fisherman who has repeatedly violated the Canada Fisheries Act is facing 11 additional charges after being found guilty of five counts of illegal fishing activities in May.
According to a Fisheries and Oceans Canada press release, Scott Steer, a Nanaimo-based commercial crab fishing boat master, was convicted after a March 2, 2020 incident near North Vancouver. Officials had been tipped off about a vessel fishing for crabs in the harbour around midnight.
“Fishery officers from the Marine Patrol Program enforcement vessel, the M. Charles, investigated and discovered Steer illegally fishing for crab,” said the press release. “After ignoring commands to stop, the vessel was boarded at high speed and Steer and three crew members were arrested … The fishing vessel, plus a truck and trailer were seized, and 300 live crab found on board were released back into the water.”
Steer was convicted by Judge Peter Edelman for the 2020 incident in provincial court in Vancouver on May 14, but according to the press release, he subsequently received more illegal fishing charges, including eight on May 31 and three sworn in provincial court in Nanaimo on July 6.
Previous disciplinary action against Steer included jail, a 22-year prohibition from fishing in Canadian and U.S. waters, a prohibition from applying for a fishing licence until 2038 and being on board any fishing vessel.
Steer is currently under 24-hour house arrest and will be sentenced in October, the press release said.
“Harvesters who choose to ignore the rules give themselves an unfair advantage, undermine the effective management of the fishery, and threaten the sustainability of the resource,” noted the release.