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

Diver discovers possible historic anchor off Campbell River

The rusted, barnacle-encrusted anchor was wedged into the bottom off Quadra Island… Continue reading

Cold weather puts pressure on homeless shelters in Campbell River

Salvation Army and Sobering Centre offer a total of 40 beds

Back to school for Vancouver Island’s snow-covered kids, more snow coming

All school districts in business this morning but officials warn another 5-10 centimetres today

Comox Strathcona Waste Management looks at tipping fees

Fees part of planned review that could offset future tax hikes in regions

City of Campbell River responds to BCTS intention to continue Snowden harvesting plans

Yet another call for the province to halt timber harvest activities until long-term plan is in place

VIDEO: Canada’s flag turns 54 today

The maple leaf design by George Stanley made its first appearance Feb. 15, 1965

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Plecas won’t run in next election if B.C. legislature oversight reforms pass

B.C. Speaker and Abbotsford South MLA says he feels ‘great sympathy’ for Jody Wilson-Raybould

Workshop with ‘accent reduction’ training cancelled at UBC

The workshop was cancelled the same day as an email was sent out to international students

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

Man in Vancouver Island hotel shooting pleads guilty to second-degree murder

Brandon Tyler Woody, from Victoria, to be sentenced in late March in B.C. Supreme Court

Judge rules Abbotsford home must be sold after son tries to evict mom

Mom to get back down payment and initial expenses

Trump officially declares national emergency to build border wall

President plans to siphon billions from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts

Snow turns to slush, rain as it warms up across B.C.’s south coast

Some areas are already covered by more than half a metre of snow following three separate storms

Most Read