Decision Date: July 28, 2011
Panel: Gabriella Lang
Keywords: Wildlife Act – ss. 51, 60; guide outfitter; quota; moose
Gary Blackwell appealed his annual quota of 30 moose, and his two-year (2011 to 2013) allocation of 43 moose. The quota and allocation were determined by the Regional Manager, Environmental Stewardship Division, Skeena Region, Ministry of Environment, and were issued as part of Mr. Blackwell’s guide outfitter licence for the 2011/12 season. Mr. Blackwell is a guide outfitter operating in a territory within the Skeena Region. Under the Wildlife Act, non-resident hunters may hunt for big game if guided by a licensed guide outfitter, and only within the territory in which the guide is permitted to operate.
Mr. Blackwell requested that the Board reverse the Regional Manager’s decision and return his moose quota and allocation to higher numbers based on his 2005 to 2009 allocation of 135 moose. He also requested that the Board delay the implementation of the Ministry’s Allocation Policy, which is set by the Director of Fish and Wildlife and has reduced the share of moose allocated to non-resident hunters and increased the share allocated to resident hunters. In addition, Mr. Blackwell argued that the Regional Manager failed to abide by the Board’s direction in Blackwell v. Acting Regional Manager (2010-WIL-007(a), issued February 16, 2011) (“Blackwell I”). In that decision, the Board considered Mr. Blackwell’s appeal of his 2010/11 quota of 30 moose and two-year (2012 to 2012) allocation of 43 moose. The Board allowed Mr. Blackwell’s appeal and sent the matter back to the Regional Manager with directions to “consider various ways and means to address this Appellant’s concerns, one of which might be the re-allocation of moose from Mike Lewis to this Appellant.” In that case, the Board had evidence from Mr. Lewis, another guide in the Skeena Region, indicating that he does not hunt moose and his moose quota was 11 for the 2010/11 season.
The Board found that the Regional Manager responded to the Board’s direction in Blackwell I, by proposing a reasonable option to Mr. Blackwell that could increase his moose quota and lessen the impact of the Allocation Policy on his business, at least temporarily, if Mr. Blackwell negotiated a transfer of quota from Mr. Lewis. The Board found that any value attached to the transfer of quota from one guide to another is a business matter to be negotiated between the guides. The Regional Manager was willing to facilitate the administrative aspects of a quota transfer between Mr. Blackwell and Mr. Lewis, but Mr. Blackwell had declined to negotiate with Mr. Lewis.
In addition, the Board found that the Regional Manager responded by reviewing how he determined Mr. Blackwell’s share of the moose quota for non-resident hunters in the Region. The Regional Manager also applied measures to ease the impact of the Allocation Policy on Mr. Blackwell. The Board concluded that, within the constraints of provincial legislation and the Allocation Policy, the Regional Manager exercised his discretion in a reasonable manner when he determined Mr. Blackwell’s moose quota and allocation.
Finally, the Board considered whether there were other remedies available to address Mr. Blackwell’s concerns. The Board held that there was no basis in this case to deviate from the current Allocation Policy or to apply historic policies that are no longer used by the Ministry. In addition, the Board found that Mr. Blackwell’s proposed alternative method of distributing the non-resident hunter moose allocation among guides would be inequitable to other guides in the Region.
Accordingly, the Board dismissed the appeal.