Local fisherman charged for not complying with commercial license and obstruction of conservation officers

The Ontario government is safeguarding Lake Huron fish populations from illegal commercial fishing.

A resident of Port Elgin, a Lake Huron commercial fishing boat captain with Inland Sea Products, pleaded guilty to obstructing a conservation officer and was fined $55,000. He was also fined $5,000 for failing to comply with conditions of his licence.

Court heard that the obstruction offence occurred in February and March of 2018 when conservation officers accompanied the captain on his commercial fishing boat on three occasions. He reported leaving a commercial fish gill net in the waters of Lake Huron due to ice conditions. An investigation revealed the timeline and latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates of the gill net location he provided to the conservation officers were false. Efforts to locate the nets were not successful because he repeatedly misdirected search efforts of conservation officers.

The court also heard that on January 21, 2022, conservation officers were conducting commercial fish inspections in Goderich when they determined that he also landed his catch without declaring the fish on a Daily Catch Report, as required under a commercial fish licence. The seized catch of fish was donated to OSHaRE, a hunger and relief effort located in Owen Sound.

Justice of the Peace Thomas Stinson heard both cases remotely in the Ontario Court of Justice, Goderich, on November 28, 2022.

To report a natural resource problem or provide information about an unsolved case, members of the public can call the ministry TIPS line toll free at 1-877-847-7667. You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS. For more information about unsolved cases, please visit ontario.ca/mnrftips.