Port Hardy man fined $5,000 for fishing in a Rockfish Conservation Area in 2012

He was also ordered to pay an additional $19,000 in forfeited profit from the catch

Raymond Jesse Thompson, skipper of the commercial fishing vessel The Western Gambler out of Port Hardy, is required by the Provincial Court of B.C. to pay a fine totalling $25,000.

Thompson pleaded guilty to two counts of fishing in a Rockfish Conservation Area and one count of failing to hail (check in) in no less than 24 hours prior to landing, for which he was fined $5,000 and $1,000 respectively, according to Judge Barbara Flewelling’s Reasons for Judgement document.

He was also nailed with an additional penalty of $19,000 under section 79 of the Fisheries Act which allows the court to order the offender to pay an amount equal to the monetary benefits gained through the illegal act.

In Oct. of 2012 Thompson “hailed out” from Port Hardy on the way to Area 3D to fish halibut. The fish were scarce in the area, so Thompson continued north behind the Scott Islands, which are in area 5A, a Rockfish Conservation Area.

Thompson reported having trouble with their equipment and was not able to hail until they were within cell service, which was outside of the 24-hour window required when fishing halibut.

Upon returning to Port Hardy, Thompson was met by fisheries officers who seized and sold the catch, initially retaining the funds from the sale, however the funds were released to Thomspon in July 2013. At that time he was warned that the matter was under investigation, that charges had been filed against him and that he could be fined for the sum of the payment if he was found guilty.

The hearing took place Nov. 17, 2016 and continued on Jan. 4, May 25 and June 16, 2017. The decision came down on Oct. 19.

Thomspon pleaded guilty to the crime and claimed he did not know that he was fishing in a protected area. But Flewelling did not find this excuse acceptable.

“Mr. Thompson, at minimum, was extremely careless if not reckless in failing to take steps to inform himself of the applicable regulations, such as Rockfish Conservation Areas,” Flewelling said.

She continued by saying, “It is important that individuals who are careless and say ‘I’m sorry, I just didn’t know’ are not rewarded for that carelessness.”

If Flewelling had found the conduct more flagrant or intentional, she may have imposed a higher fine. Section 79 of the Fisheries Act allows for the fine to equal the full value of the illegal catch, which was $35,621.

The court ordered that $2,000 of that fine be paid to PhD student Shannon Obradovich for her work at UBC on “Using Bottom Longlines in the Assessment of Long Lived Demersal Reef Species” and $2,000 to PhD student Mauricio Carrasquilla at UVic for his research on “Yelloweye and Quillback rockfish Abundance and Relationship with Benthic Habitat Parameters in the Strait of Georgia, B.C.”

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Sold-out crowd enjoys BCHL game at the Brindy

Alberni Valley Bulldogs beat Trail Smoke Eaters 5-2

Campbell River RCMP officer assaulted during traffic stop

Officer expected to make a full recovery; had been conducting impaired driving investigation alone

Campbell River hydro project workers pitch a perfect safety game

The billion dollar price tag is not the only astonishing number

PHOTOS: More than 40 people gather for pro-choice rally

Event was planned to coincide with pro-life speaker Denise Mountenay presentation

Bye bye Bei Bei: Giant panda born in U.S. zoo heads to China

Panda heads back to China as part of cooperative breeding program

B.C.’s ‘Dr. Frankenstein of guns’ back in jail yet again for trafficking in Glock parts

Bradley Michael Friesen has parole revoked for allegedly importing gun parts yet again

B.C. woman suing after laser hair removal leaves her with ‘severe’ burns, scarring

Nadeau felt ‘far more pain’ than usual during the treatment

$2.9 million judgment in B.C. blueberry farm sabotage lawsuit

The new owners saw most of their farm ruined just as they took possession

B.C. to more than double sales tax on vaping products

Tax up from 7 to 20 per cent, tobacco tax up two cents

29 B.C. students in Hong Kong amid tense protests, university siege

Eight UVic and 21 UBC students still in Hong Kong

Site where rockslide occurred along Malahat is too narrow for rock blasting or drilling: Emcon

‘Rockfalls are inevitable, so we try to increase our response times,’ says representative

‘Midget’ no more: Sweeping division name changes coming to minor hockey in Canada

Alpha-numeric division names will be used for the 2020-2021 season and beyond

Ottawa urges CN and union to continue talks as 3,200 workers go on strike

The rail workers began their strike after failing to reach a deal by a midnight deadline

Most Read