R v. Corcoran

In Fish Cases, Offences, Variation Orders on (Updated )

This case involved a variation order which declared that fishing was prohibited in a local area "beginning on January 1 and ending on December 31". The trial judge ruled that the variation order was vague and that it failed to properly prohibit fishing during a "specified period" as within the meaning of the Act.

The appeal was allowed and the case remitted to trial court for continuation of trial. Parliament intended to entrust those responsible for the control and harvesting of groundfish with sufficient flexibility and power to respond quickly to fishery issues as they arose. It was not reasonable to require that the Regulations be redrafted with respect to each fishery closure. The court reviewed an number of authorities supporting the proposition that the Regulations had to be given a fair and liberal construction and interpretation. In the circumstances, the variation order was properly issued and consistent with the Regulations which were designed to apply from year to year. The variation order was not vague and it should have been clear to all fishermen that the areas in question were closed for fishing as of July 10 and thereafter until a subsequent variation order was issued by the proper authorities.