British Columbia

Luxury lodge on Haida Gwaii fined $35K for illegal fishing

Queen Charlotte Lodge has been fined $35,000 for illegally catching over 200 fish on Haida Gwaii.

Money will go back into fish preservation and habitat on Haida Gwaii

Queen Charlotte Lodge is a 20-acre luxury fishing resort on the western shore of Naden Harbour on Haida Gwaii. (Queen Charlotte Lodge/Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0)

A luxury fishing lodge on Haida Gwaii has been fined $35,000 for illegally catching dozens of halibut and over 100 chinook, coho and pink salmon.

Officers with Fisheries and Oceans Canada seized the illegal catches from Queen Charlotte Lodge during a surprise inspection last year.

DFO fishery officer Geoff Thorburn said the fish were well over the legal limits allowed on Haida Gwaii.

"If everybody had no limit whatsoever, we'd probably have some significant issues when it comes to salmon and halibut," he said.

"Staying within the limits is really important for fish management and for the conservation and protection of fish."

The lodge was found guilty of six violations of the Fisheries Act and fined $500 for each.

The judge ordered the lodge to pay an additional $32,000 to finance marine conservation, rehabilitation, education and research efforts on Haida Gwaii. 

"If anything positive comes out of this, it's that money will go to conservation of fish and fish habitat here on Haida Gwaii," Thorburn said.

In December 2015, Naden Lodge in Massett was ordered to pay $15,000 for fishing violations, $13,000 of which was for similar conservation efforts.

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