After almost one year of investigation and more than six months in the courts, Andrew Maillot pled guilty to one count of Illegal Guiding, section 49(1) of the Wildlife Act at the Port Coquitlam courthouse.
The guilty plea stems from a complaint received by the Conservation Officer Service in Smithers, B.C, in September 2010.
The complaint alleged Maillot was illegally guiding fishermen on the Zymoetz (Copper) River near Smithers, BC.
An investigation, including Conservation Officers Kyle Ackles, Cam Schley (resigned) and Sergeant Kevin Nixon, was launched and charges against Maillot were filed Aug. 30, 2011.
Maillot was charged with acting as a guide without a proper licence, angling without a licence or permit as required by regulation and acting as a guide without a proper licence.
All charges were filed under the B.C. Wildlife Act.
“Investigating illegal angling guides can be difficult,” Ackles, a conservation officer based in Smithers said.
“In order to prove the offence we need to prove compensation or reward for guiding services.”
In sentencing Maillot, the judge also remarked on the difficulty of investigations involving illegal guiding and noted such activities put legal guides at an economic disadvantage.
Maillot was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.
In addition, Maillot also has to pay $9,000 to the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund for fish conservation and enhancement and management in the Skeena Region.
“Hopefully, the $10,000 fine will provide a deterrence in the future,” Ackles said.
Deterrence is key, Ackles said, because there are indications illegal guiding is a common venture in the Skeena region.
“Angling guiding is an important industry locally and brings in a lot to the local economy,” Ackles said.
“The Smithers office, which includes the Morice, Babine, Bulkley, Kispiox and upper Skeena rivers, receives around a dozen complaints every fall.”
The Copper or Zymoetz River, which flows into the Skeena River near Terrace, B.C., is considered a classified river and considered one of the best rivers to fish for steelhead salmon.
To report a violation please call the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-RAPP (7277).