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Fines for illegal hunting and fishing more than double in B.C.

The biggest fines apply to people who hunt or possess big game out of season.
A grizzly bear and its two cubs are seen in the Khutzeymateen Inlet near Prince Rupert, B.C., Friday, June, 22, 2018. The province is trying to crack down on illegal wildlife hunting and fishing activities by bringing in tougher penalties. THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward

VICTORIA — Fines for illegal hunting and fishing in British Columbia are more than doubling as the province cracks down on offences against wildlife.

The Ministry of Forests says the new scale of fines effective Tuesday under the Wildlife Act ranges from $345 to $1,495, up from the current range of $115 to $575.

The biggest fines apply to people who hunt or possess big game out of season.

The ministry says in a news release the new penalties “better reflect the serious nature" of wildlife offences and acknowledge the importance of wildlife to B.C.

Other offences subject to the fines include unlawful trapping, hunting or angling without a licence, operating a motor vehicle in prohibited areas, damaging habitat and illegal trafficking of wildlife.

The province says more than 1,000 tickets for Wildlife Act offences were issued in 2023, leading to more than $200,000 in fines.

The B.C. Wildlife Federation says in a separate news release that the new penalties are “more in line” with the harm caused by poachers.

Jesse Zeman, executive director of the federation, says in the release that it "applauds tougher penalties and would like to see all fees from these fines to be dedicated to fish and wildlife management.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 17, 2024.

The Canadian Press