Judge rules crab quota case should pro­ceed to trial

New Water­ford man was seek­ing sum­mary judg­ment


A Cape Bre­ton Supreme Court jus­tice has de­nied a New Water­ford’s man claim for a sum­mary judg­ment on a dis­puted crab quota li­cence.

Paul Fraser had pe­ti­tioned the court to grant his ap­pli­ca­tion seek­ing com­pen­sa­tion for the sale of the quota and to trans­fer the quota to another li­cence holder.

As noted by Jus­tice Robin Go­gan in her de­ci­sion, the pur­pose and ob­jec­tive of a sum­mary judge­ment is to end claims or de­fences that have no real prospect of suc­cess.

“All of the ev­i­dence of­fered at this point sup­ports there are ma­te­rial facts in dis­pute as to own­er­ship of the dis­puted quota,” ruled Go­gan, deny­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion.

She said a trial is re­quired to re­solve the dis­pute.

Fraser is a fa­mil­iar fig­ure to many hav­ing spent years pub- licly protest­ing against the fed­eral Depart­ment of Fish­eries and Oceans, the Royal Bank of Canada and oth­ers over a dis­puted crab quota. In 2014, he spent nearly seven hours on the rooftop of the fish­eries build­ing to protest his dis­pute with the reg­u­la­tory body.

In May 2010, ac­cord­ing to Go­gan’s de­ci­sion, Fraser trans­ferred his crab quota to another li­cence holder. The quota was later trans­ferred to a num­bered com­pany, 3102602 Nova Sco­tia Lim­ited.

Fraser did re­ceive com­pen­sa­tion for the trans­fer in 2010 but not in sub­se­quent years. Fraser claims he in­tended to trans­fer the quota to Big Bras d’Or Group.

In re­sponse, 3102602 claims the quota is owned by Rod­die Jef­frie and the pur­chase was le­gal. Fur­ther, the com­pany claims it re­lied on as­sur­ances from An­thony Hen­drick­son that he had au­thor­ity to sell the quota.

The court noted that Big Bras d’Or Group had some com­mer­cial re­la­tion­ship with Three Port Fish­eries Lim­ited, of which Hen­drick­son and Jef­frie were one-time share­hold­ers.

Among those to tes­tify at the ap­pli­ca­tion hear­ing was Claire Mac­Don­ald, lo­cal man­ager for the Depart­ment of Fish­eries and Oceans.

She tes­ti­fied that Fraser’s quota was trans­ferred to the num­bered com­pany in Oc­to­ber 2011. Fraser main­tained it was also his in­tent to trans­fer the quota, not sell. He re- ceived a pay­ment from Three Port Fish­eries in 2010 but none in sub­se­quent years.

Fraser told the court that when he asked Hen­drick­son about his com­pen­sa­tion, he was told that Jef­frie, pres­i­dent of Three Port and a for­mer share­holder, was hold­ing things up.

Jef­frie claims he re­ceived the quota from Hen­drick­son as part of set­tle­ment of his in­ter­est in Three Port.

In her de­ci­sion Go­gan said that it is undis­puted in this case that what was Fraser’s crab quota al­lo­ca­tion is now held by 3102602.

“What is dis­puted is the ba­sis upon which the trans­fer took place, what role, if any, Hen­drick­son played in the trans­fer, and whether Fraser re­mains the true owner of the crab quota, or whether Jef­frie at some point in the trans­ac­tions be­came a bona fide pur­chaser for value with­out no­tice,” she said.

“All of the ev­i­dence of­fered at this point sup­ports there are ma­te­rial facts in dis­pute as to own­er­ship of the dis­puted quota.”

Jus­tice Robin Go­gan

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