Decision Date: July 17, 2017
Panel: Linda Michaluk
Keywords: Wildlife Act – s. 60(1); quota; guide outfitter; licence; caribou; moose
Hans-Albert Jacobs appealed two decisions of the Deputy Regional Manager (the “Regional Manager”), Recreational Fisheries and Wildlife Program, Cariboo Region, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (the “Ministry”), setting his quota of moose at three and his quota of caribou at one for the 2017/18 season. The quotas were attached to Mr. Jacobs’ guide outfitter licence. Mr. Jacobs is a guide outfitter who is authorized to take hunters on guided hunts in the area specified in his guide outfitter certificate. The quotas in a guide’s licence set the number of wildlife species that the guide’s clients may harvest in the guide’s territory within the period specified in the licence. Guide outfitters’ clientele are mainly non-resident hunters.
Mr. Jacobs appealed on the grounds that the Ministry’s population estimates for moose and caribou were flawed, difficulty in accessing his guide outfitter territory caused reduced pressure from resident hunters, and he was being unfairly penalized for not fully using his quotas in previous years. He also argued that dramatic reductions in his quotas of moose and caribou since 2002 caused his business to suffer and reduced its value. He requested that his moose quota be increased to at least five, and his caribou quota be increased to at least four. Alternatively, if those quotas were not increased, he requested that he be compensated by receiving increased quotas of grizzly bear and mountain goat, and/or monetary compensation from the Ministry.
The Board considered the Ministry’s policies and procedures for setting quotas and allocations. The Board also considered evidence regarding how the Regional Manager reached his decision regarding Mr. Jacobs’ quotas, and how the Ministry estimated caribou and moose populations in the Region. Based on the information and evidence, the Board found that the Ministry’s methods for estimating moose and caribou populations were sound. Furthermore, the evidence showed that the moose and caribou populations in Mr. Jacobs’ guide territory had sharply declined between 2001/02 and 2011/12, which resulted in the Ministry reducing the harvests of those species since 2013. Also, changes in the Ministry’s policies and procedures in 2007, which were gradually implemented over a ten-year period, resulted in province-wide reductions in guide outfitter quotas. There was no evidence that the Regional Manager erred in exercising his discretion, misapplied the Ministry’s policies and procedures, or treated Mr. Jacobs unfairly. Moreover, there was no justification for changing Mr. Jacobs’ quotas based on economic impact alone, as this impact was recognized by the Ministry when it created the new policies and procedures in 2007. Finally, the Board noted that it has no authority to award quotas for one animal in compensation for another.
Accordingly, the appeals were dismissed.