This was a summary conviction appeal, which involved charges against the owner of a licensed fishing vessel, who used his fishing vessel at a time the commercial lobster fishery was closed, in order to assist a native person who was fishing pursuant to an aboriginal licence. According to the findings of the trial judge, the vessel owner was assisting the native person to move his traps from one area to another. Although the native person physical removed the traps from the water and emptied them, the owner did the following:
1. Directed where the traps should be placed in the boat;
2. Transported the lobster which were caught;
3. Operated and controlled the vessel;
4. Offered advice on where and how to fish; and
5. Charged a flat fee of $30.00 for his services.
The main issue in the case was whether the acts of the owner amounted to "fishing" as used in s. 33(2) of the Atlantic Fishery Regulations, 1995.
The court reviewed a number of authorities and concluded that the meaning of "fishing" as used in the regulations was somewhat broader than the meaning attributed to the words in the case of The Ship "Frederick Gerring Jr." v. R. (1897), 27 S.C.R. 271. He said:
For the purposes of s. 33(2) "fishing" appears to mean following the pursuit or vocation of fishing, and not the mere taking of fish. "fishing under the authority of a licence" would appear to be broad enough to include the whole of the fishing voyage From wharf to wharf, the requirement for compliance with the conditions of a licence is intended to apply to the entire operation.
On the basis of this definition of fishing, the court overturned the vessel owner’s acquittal and entered a conviction.