Cross­ing the line

Ken­neth Percy Leeco fined $3,000 and has clams seized

Journal Pioneer - - THE ISLAND - BY RYAN ROSS

A P.E.I. man who was caught fish­ing for clams in an area marked as con­tam­i­nated was fined $3,000 re­cently. Ken­neth Percy Leeco ap­peared be­fore Chief Judge Nancy Orr in provin­cial court in Ge­orge­town where he pleaded guilty to un­law­fully fish­ing clams in an area set out un­der man­age­ment of con­tam­i­nated fish­eries reg­u­la­tions. Crown at­tor­ney Matthew Bradley told the court a con­ser­va­tion of­fi­cer and a con­ser­va­tion of­fi­cer cadet found Leeco fish­ing soft shell clams in the Mon­tague River.

Leeco ad­mit­ted to fish­ing clams in a con­tam­i­nated area and the con­ser­va­tion of­fi­cer seized four trays of clams. A to­tal of 3,085 clams were turned over to Fish­eries and Oceans Canada and later re­leased back into the Mon­tague River.

Leeco re­ceived a writ­ten warn­ing in 2000 for the same of­fence.

Bradley said the clams from a con­tam­i­nated area could have a neg­a­tive ef­fects on any­one who con­sumed them and on the in­dus­try if any­one ate them.

“This is a pub­lic safety is­sue,” he said.

Be­fore hear­ing his sen­tence, Leeco, who is a li­censed fish­er­man, ad­dressed the court and said he was ba­si­cally right be­side the line mark­ing the con­tam­i­nated area.

He didn’t see the dif­fer­ence a few feet made, Leeco said. Orr said if some­one got sick from the clams the whole in­dus­try could get shut down.

“If the in­dus­try’s shut down you’re not go­ing to have any money com­ing in,” she said.

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