• Fraser MacDonald v. Regional Manager, Recreational Fisheries and Wildlife Program, Omineca Region

    Decision Date:
    File Numbers:
    Decision Numbers:
    Third Party:
    BC Wildlife Federation, Participant


    Decision Date: July 4, 2017

    Panel: David H. Searle, C.M., Q.C.

    Keywords: Wildlife Act – s. 60(1); Wildlife Act Commercial Activities Regulation – s. 1.04; quota; guide outfitter; licence; grizzly bear

    Fraser MacDonald appealed a decision of the Regional Manager (the “Regional Manager”), Fisheries and Wildlife Program, Omineca Region, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (the “Ministry”), setting his annual quota of grizzly bear at three for the 2017/18 season, and his five-year allocation of grizzly bear at eight. The annual quota and five-year allocation were attached to Mr. MacDonald’s guide outfitter licence. Mr. MacDonald is a guide outfitter who is authorized to take hunters on guided hunts in the area specified in his guide outfitter certificate. His allocation of grizzly bears had decreased by almost half since 2007.

    Mr. MacDonald appealed on the grounds that his five-year allocation was not calculated based on the best available scientific information, was inconsistent with other northern Regions, and did not adhere to the Ministry’s policies and procedures. In particular, he argued that grizzly bear populations and harvests should be set based on smaller geographic units (i.e. wildlife management units), rather than larger units that include areas with low grizzly bear population densities. He requested that his annual quota be increased to four grizzly bears, and his five-year allocation be increased to 14 grizzly bears.

    The Board considered the Ministry’s policies and procedures for setting quotas and allocations, and assessing grizzly bear populations. The Board also considered evidence regarding how the Regional Manager made his decision, grizzly bear population estimates in the Region, and the methods for calculating guide outfitter allocations and quotas, including the geographic scale of grizzly bear management. The Board found that the Regional Manager had considered whether to use a larger geographic scale to determine guide outfitters’ grizzly bear allocations and quotas, but uncertainty in grizzly bear population information made it difficult to determine the best scale of management. In addition, the Regional Manager explained that increasing Mr. MacDonald’s allocation and quota would require either taking away bears allocated to other harvesters, or exceeding the bear mortality rate that would ensure a sustainable harvest. Therefore, the Regional Manager decided to continue to set grizzly bear allocations and quotas for guide outfitters in the Region based on a larger geographic scale, pending the collection of more accurate data on grizzly bear populations and further engagement with stakeholders. Based on all of the information and evidence, the Board concluded that there were compelling reasons to confirm the Regional Manager’s decision, and to delay making changes to Mr. MacDonald’s grizzly bear allocation and quota until the Ministry’s review of grizzly bear populations in the Region concludes.

    Accordingly, the appeal was dismissed.