The Ministry of Environment conservation officers from Beauval received information back in 2016 that two individuals were illegally selling fish near Canoe Narrows, Saskatchewan.
In Canoe Narrows court room, Richard Desjardin, 63, pleaded guilty to three counts of marketing fish without a licence, commercial fishing without a licence, fishing in a closed area and obstruction. Desjardin was fined a total of $14,500 and had his truck forfeited to the Crown.
Following an earlier trial, Donald Iron, 60, was found guilty on three counts of illegally selling fish and three counts of selling fish without a licence. He was fined a total of $1,080. Four individuals were originally charged with various fish trafficking charges, but the charges against two of the accomplices were stayed when Desjardin accepted responsibility.
Undercover officers were able to purchase fish from both individuals, with one selling a significant amount more than the other. Officers purchased more than 200 walleye from the two men, who were not licensed commercial fishermen or licensed to sell the fish. In the 1970s and 80s, walleye populations in Canoe Lake crashed and took years to recover. As a result, extra efforts were taken to curb the unlawful trafficking of fish from Canoe Lake.
An area of Canoe Lake is closed year-round to all fishing to protect the walleye spawning ground. This closure has been in effect for more than 20 years and is fully supported by Canoe Lake First Nation. The majority of the fish in this investigation were unlawfully taken from this closed area. If you suspect wildlife, fishery, forestry or environmental violations, please call Saskatchewan’s toll-free Turn In Poachers line at 1-800-667-7561, or call #5555 (SaskTel cellular subscribers), or report a violation online at www.saskatchewan.ca/tip. You may be eligible for cash rewards from the SaskTip Reward Program.