Manitoba to increase poaching penalties

Funds collected will support preservation initiatives

The Manitoba government has introduced legislation to seek restitution from those caught illegally harvesting fish or wildlife over and above fines already in place.

“Poachers must pay the real price and can’t be robbing Manitoba of its natural bounty. The monies collected will be directed to the newly established Fish and Wildlife Enhancement Fund to support projects that conserve, protect and invest in our provincial fish and wildlife resources,” Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh said in a release.

Under the proposed legislation, individuals convicted of an offence where fish were unlawfully harvested or possessed, or wildlife were unlawfully killed, transported or possessed, would pay restitution above fines already in place to be determined following further review and consultation and would be implemented in early 2015.

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For example, the proposed restitution for a conviction involving a walleye fish could be about $40 and could range from $500 to $4,000 for a white-tailed deer. The minister noted the department would consult widely before finalizing restitution amounts.

Restitution amounts would double for offences in areas closed to hunting or incidents involving protected species. This approach would reflect the damage and severity of these infractions and would act as a more effective deterrent than the current fine system alone, Mackintosh said.

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