Want to be a fishing/hunting guide? You need a licence

Qualicum Beach man faces charges that could result in stiff fines or even jail time

A Qualicum Beach man is facing stiff charges for allegedly guiding without a licence, stemming from three separate incidents occurring over the last 18 months.

Crown Council approved three charges against the man, conservation officer Stuart Bates told The NEWS on Tuesday.

He confirmed one of the offenses is alleged to have occurred in the Nahmint River in the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District.

The accused’s first appearance in Port Alberni court is slated for Oct. 14.

Under section 49(1) of the Wildlife Act, all angling guides are required to hold a licence which must be renewed annually.

“The purpose of this is to aid in monitoring angling,” Bates explained. “They’re required to report the number of angling days and their catches.”

Bates said an investigation was launched into the accused’s river fishing behaviour after being tipped off nearly two years ago.

“We’re trying to encourage people who hire (fishing) guides to ask for their licence,” said Bates, advising people to “be leery of paying in cash.”

On a first conviction, Bates said a person can be fined up to $100,000 and one year in jail or both for unlicensed guiding. On each subsequent conviction, Bates said a person can be fined a minimum of $2,000 and a maximum of $200,000 and two years in jail or both.

He confirmed a person who unknowingly hires an unlicensed guide would not face charges.

None of the allegations have been proven in a court of law.

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