On August 31, 2015, Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship proclaimed The Fisheries and Wildlife Amendment Act (Restitution). This legislation imposes restitution values on anyone convicted of unlawfully taking fish or wildlife. Restitution is defined as the act of compensating for loss or damage. Wildlife and fisheries restitution addresses the value of losing a fish or animal from the population due to an illegal activity.
Currently, someone convicted of a fish or wildlife violation is subject to a fine. A fine is a penalty related to the offence and can vary at the discretion of the courts. Restitution costs reflect the value of the loss of the fish or animal from the environment and therefore, these costs cannot be changed or altered by the courts. The new law imposes restitution over and above fines upon conviction of taking an animal or fish for prescribed offences. The violator will be advised they are required to pay assigned restitution if found guilty.
Wildlife and fish are significant to people for various reasons including:
Values for game species can be approximated through market costs such as hunting and fishing licences, equipment, hiring outfitters, and other associated expenditures that indicate a willingness to pay. The department established restitution values for wildlife using an average of values from other (U.S.) jurisdictions and from input from stakeholder groups. Recreational fish values were determined using the average amount an angler spends per day to fish based on the 2010 Survey of Recreational Fishing in Manitoba and from input from stakeholder groups.
The Department intends to continue to develop restitution values for other wildlife and fish species in Manitoba such as fur bearing animals and protected or at risk species, including polar bear and carmine shiner. Such values will be determined after research, extensive work with experts and the public, and consultation with stakeholders and other groups.
Leading the Way
Manitoba is looking to be a leader in ensuring our fish and wildlife are protected now and in future. Manitoba is the first Canadian jurisdiction to create restitution values whereby violators will pay for the unlawful removal of a wild animal or fish from the population.
Monies collected from restitution will go to the Fish and Wildlife Enhancement Fund for managing fisheries and wildlife resources.