Released on November 18, 2014
New legislation announced today by Environment Minister Scott Moe will aim to enhance wildlife protection in Saskatchewan by increasing the severity of hunting penalties.
The Wildlife Amendment Act, 2014 will ensure that:
“Our government made a commitment in this year’s Speech from the Throne to increase hunting penalties to better protect our wildlife resources,” Moe said. “This sends a strong message to poachers that there are serious consequences associated with breaking wildlife laws in Saskatchewan.”
- The most serious conservation offences will carry an automatic two-year suspension;
- People who fail to pay wildlife-related fines will be prohibited from buying a licence until their fines are paid;
- People who are suspended from hunting activities in another jurisdiction will not be able to purchase a licence in Saskatchewan;
- Those convicted on three separate occasions for wildlife offences will have a lifetime ban, prohibiting the purchase of hunting licenses; and
- In collaboration with the Ministry of Justice, people who are in arrears for maintenance payments will be denied the opportunity to purchase a hunting or angling licence.
The Act also lengthens the time wildlife officers have to bring wildlife violation charges forward, from two years to three years. Wildlife violations are challenging to investigate because they often occur in unpopulated areas, and poaching gangs are becoming more sophisticated and difficult to catch.
This past spring, the Government of Saskatchewan made significant changes to the fine structure for unlawful hunting and fishing activities by doubling fines for the most serious wildlife conservation offences. New legislation will now make Saskatchewan’s penalties equal to or higher than fines for comparable violations in other jurisdictions.
The Act will also ensure scientific surveys, especially involving species at risk, will be carried out in a responsible and undisruptive manner. Properly conducted wildlife surveys and reliable data submissions are vital tools in the assessment, management and protection of wildlife populations and their habitat.
Recommendations to improve the protection of wildlife resources were initially received in 2012, following feedback from the government’s Red Tape Reduction Initiative Survey.
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