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Fish buyer denies quota offer

A fish buyer says he never offered quota to a halibut fisherman who was recently fined $120,000 in Campbell River provincial court.

“He never asked me to cover his overage. That was incorrect,” said Blake Tipton of SM Products.

Tipton was responding to last week’s story in the Mirror regarding Gerald Dalum’s conviction and fines for possession of more than 31,000 pounds of halibut and rockfish that he fished in 2007. The trouble was, Dalum didn’t have enough quota to cover the overage which he had brought to the dock in Port Hardy.

According to court documents, Dalum thought he could buy extra quota from two other fishermen, but when those deals fell through, he wound up selling the fish to SM Products whom he had dealt with for years.

Dalum also claimed he believed Tipton could provide him with quota and the fee would be deducted from his cheque from SM Products. But that never occurred and Dalum wound up with an extra $90,000. As a result, Dalum was charged with nine fisheries-related offences. He was found guilty on four counts after the Crown dropped five charges. But Tipton took exception to Dalum’s statement that SM Products offered to cover the overage.

“He never asked me to cover it,” Tipton said during a phone interview from Vancouver. “Gerry and I were good friends prior to this happening.”

Tipton also speculated that the reason Dalum never asked for extra quota was because his mission, “was to take down the Integrated (Fisheries) Management Plan.”

Dalum has stated he’s against the quota system instituted by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. He’s also supported a lawsuit against the federal ministry, in regard to halibut quota, which was launched in 2008 and is still ongoing.

“I don’t like fishing politics and I don’t like the quota system,” Dalum told the Mirror.

As a result of the conviction and fines, Dalum, 67, said his days as a commercial fishermen are over. He is appealing the court decision.

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