This case involved the Atlantic Tuna fishery. As a result of an excessive swordfish by catch, D.F.O. negotiated a deal to get extra swordfish quota from Nova Scotia Swordfish Association. This allowed 12 vessels to continue fishing tuna, each with a swordfish by catch allowance of 1.2 tonnes.
After being caught exceeding his quota, the accused attempted a due diligence defence based upon the following:
It was too dangerous to weight the tuna in round weights as required by his licence; and
He thought that he could exceed his by catch allowance and simply have it deducted from his allowance in the following year.
In rejecting this defence, the court that “because of his experience and awareness of his responsibility under the licence it is difficult to conclude that he could have held a reasonable and honest belief that his way of doing things was the correct way . . . (para. 19).
Postscript: Upheld on appeal at 2009 NSCA 112 (link)