R v. Rhyno

In Fish Cases, Miscellaneous, Offences, Search and Seizure on (Updated )

This case involved a crab boat that was owned by a group of fishermen who were under suspicion for illegal crab fishing. Although the vessel had not engaged in commercial fishing for some time, it was outfitted for fishing, it was tied up to a dock with crab traps piled upon it, and on the day in question, it had left the dock at 7:00 p.m. in the evening and returned one hour later. Upon the vessel being approached by uniformed fisheries officers, the accused left the boat and refused to produce identification when asked to do so. As a result of his refusal, he was arrested for obstruction.

One of the issues at trial was whether the provisions of the Fisheries Act and regulations regarding inspections applied to “someone not proven to be involved in the fishery but, at most, only on the periphery or with the opportunity to be involved” (para. 17).

In finding the accused guilty of obstruction, the court took the expansive view of fishing from R. v. Newell [1988] N.S.J. NO. 413 to the effect that fishing includes the whole voyage from wharf to wharf. The court said that although there was no evidence that the accused was actually involved in the fishery, the fisheries officers “had reason to suspect the vessel was one which fell within s. 49(1) of the Act justifying the inspection of a “place” and that . . . [the accused], ‘a person found in the place’ would be obliged to provide information as contemplated by s. 49(1.20(B) of the Act” (para26).