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B.C. upping fines for people who harm wildlife to maximum of $1,495

Province says it hopes change deters more people from violating Wildlife Act
A sign warning people not to feed wildlife is seen at Stanley Park after numerous people were attacked by coyotes, in Vancouver, on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

People caught harming wildlife or fish in B.C. will face far heftier fines beginning this week. 

As of Tuesday (June 18), violation tickets under the Wildlife Act will range from $345 to $1,495, a near tripling from the current $115 to $575. The province says the move is one of the first serious changes to the act in more than two decades and aims to better discourage people from unlawful activities. 

The fine increase will apply to about 200 violation types. The maximum of $1,495 will be used for people who hunt big game during closed hunting seasons and who unlawfully possess big game or possess threatened or endangered species, among other serious offences. 

Other violations under the act include unlawful trapping and hunting, hunting without a licence, operating a vehicle in a prohibited area, damaging wildlife habitat and illegally trafficking wildlife. 

"The new fine amounts better reflect the serious nature of these offences and recognize the importance of wildlife to everyone living in British Columbia," reads a news release from the Ministry of Water, Land and Natural Resource Stewardship.

In 2023, conservation officers issued more than 1,000 Wildlife Act violation tickets, amounting to about $200,000 in fines. People who violate the act can also be subject to lesser penalties, such as a warning, or greater ones, such as criminal prosecution. 

About the Author: Black Press Media Staff

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