B.C. raising fines for harming wildlife

The B.C. government is set to implement stricter penalties for poachers and polluters found harming wildlife.

Under the ‘Wildlife Act,’ the province has outlined new fine amounts that “better reflect the serious nature of these offences and recognize the importance of wildlife to everyone living in British Columbia.”

In a release Monday, the Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship said those fines have not been adjusted in more than two decades. 

It says the new amounts for approximately 200 violations will be effective on June 18. Tickets will range from $345 to nearly $1,500.

“The highest new fine amount, $1,495, will apply to people hunting wildlife defined as big game during a closed hunting season, the unlawful possession of big game or the unlawful possession of threatened or endangered species, as well as other serious offences under the Wildlife Act and its regulations,” the release said.

The ministry said unlawful trapping, hunting, and angling can have a negative effect on fish and wildlife, but fines for violations like operating a motor vehicle in an area where it is prohibited and damage to wildlife habitat are also receiving increases. 

“This change to the violation ticket fine structure is supported by stakeholders throughout the natural-resource sector, including hunters, anglers, conservationists, guide outfitters, trappers and others, as well as many First Nations partners that welcome harsher penalties for people who demonstrate a lack of respect for fish, wildlife and their habitats.”

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

The changes are part of a review of the Wildlife Act that began in 2022 and is expected to continue into 2026.

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