Commercial Fisherman Given Lifetime Ban From Fishing and Jail Time

by Victoria Santiago

A commercial fisherman in Canada has been banned from ever stepping on a fishing boat again. The fisherman is a repeat offender of the Fisheries Act of Canada. Over the last decade, he’s been convicted for fishing illegally multiple times. His last conviction was in May of this year.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced Scott Stanley Matthew Steer’s sentencing on Monday (12/20). He’s received a lifetime ban from fishing. In 2020, Steer and two accomplices were caught fishing for crab in Vancouver Harbor. They led fisheries officials on a high-speed chase through the harbor before eventually stopping and getting arrested. He was fishing without a license. Plus, it was a closed season. There were 250 live crabs on the boat, which were later released.

He wasn’t just illegally fishing, though. He was also found to be in breach of a previous court order. The court order prohibited him from boarding any fishing boats or using any fishing equipment.

Hefty Charges for the Canadian Fisherman

After so many violations, he was finally given a lifetime ban from fishing. In addition to the ban, he was sentenced to six months in jail and 75 hours of community service.

But wait, folks – that’s not all! Fisheries and Oceans Canada went into great detail about all of the consequences the fisherman will face. “The Judge additionally banned him from involvement in the purchasing or sale of fish, including brokering, for 5 years. And, he added a ban against Mr. Steer purchasing or selling a fishing vessel, and ordered the forfeiting of the aluminum vessel used in the illegal activity, with the approximate value of $50,000.”

Whew. Everything keeps adding up, so let’s do a quick recap. Steer is banned from fishing for life. He also can never step foot on a fishing boat, ever again. Additionally, he cannot commercially buy or sell fish. Also, he cannot buy or sell boats. In addition to that, he has to forfeit the boat he already owns. Maybe he will finally learn to stop fishing illegally.

Being banned for life from fishing is relatively rare. In over 30 years, there has only been one other lifetime ban. However, the fisherman’s continued disregard for the laws, for the safety of others around him, and for the ocean, make it the only choice left. Art Demsky, the detachment commander with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, spoke to CBC about Steer’s case. “There’s been no deterrent in sending him [Steer] to jail. No fine amount would seem to be enough. At some point, you just have to say enough is enough and here is your lifetime ban.”

The other fishermen involved in this latest bout of illegal activity will both be sentenced in 2022.