Keywords: Wildlife Act – ss.51(1)(2) and 60(1)(2); grizzly bear quota; annual allowable harvest; estimate of grizzly bear population
Anna Fontana appealed the decision of the Regional Manager, Environmental Stewardship (the “Regional Manager”), Ministry of Environment (the “Ministry”) which set Ms. Fontana’s guide outfitter quota for grizzly bear at one bear for the 2006 hunting season.
Ms. Fontana requested that her 2006 quota for grizzly bear be increased to two bears.
Ms. Fontana submitted that the Ministry underestimated the grizzly bear population in her guide outfitter territory. She testified about the numerous and consistent grizzly bear sightings in her territory, which she acknowledged are not scientific evidence. Ms. Fontana also submitted that her 2004-2006 allocation for grizzly bear was not fair, and that the Ministry constantly alters the annual allowable harvest for grizzly bear without consistent or supportable reasons.
Although the Board accepted Ms. Fontana’s evidence that Ministry’s estimate of the grizzly bear population may be low for her territory, the Board found that no scientific evidence was presented at the hearing to substantiate a higher population estimate. The Board found that the Regional Manager used an appropriate method to determine the grizzly bear population in Ms. Fontana’s guide territory and that his estimate of grizzly bears in Ms. Fontana’s territory was reasonable.
The Board also found that the Regional Manager properly exercised his discretion under section 60(1) of the Wildlife Act when setting Ms. Fontana’s quota for 2006. The Board found that the Regional Manager’s decision to set her quota at one grizzly bear for 2006 was reasonable and fair.
Last, the Board considered Ms. Fontana’s submissions with respect to changes in the annual allowable harvest rate. The Board found that it is reasonable and appropriate that annual allowable harvest rates vary over time as new population data, scientific studies and management methodologies become available.