Hefty fine for Old Per­li­can fish­er­man

The Compass - - COMPASS - Nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

An Old Per­li­can fish­er­man man has been handed a large fine fol­low­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Depart­ment of Fish­eries and Oceans (DFO).

On Oct. 2, Wil­liam Carl Hop­kins was fined $30,000 for pro­vid­ing false in­for­ma­tion in the DFO log book from 2008 to 2010. Of f icials say Hop­kins fal­sly re­ported crab catches be­tween fish­ing ar­eas.

Al­though he did not lose his li­cense, Hop­kins was or­dered by pro­vin­cial court judge Lori Mar­shall to re­port ves­sel mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem (VMS) po­si­tional data in 15 minute in­ter­vals for a pe­riod of three years while fish­ing snow crab.

He was also or­dered to for­feit the pro­ceeds from 497 kilo­grams (1,096 pounds) of seized crab to the Crown. The crab is val­ued at some $1,479.

Hop­kins was iden­ti­fied for giv­ing false in­for­ma­tion as a part of Op­er­a­tion Gearshift, a re­al­time and ret­ro­spec­tive re­view of fis­ing ac­tiv­ity in the snow crab and north­ern shrimp fish­eries. The op­er­a­tion has re­sulted in the con­vic­tion of dozens of fish­ers, with penal­ties ex­ceed­ing $1 mil­lion.

A pre­vi­ous con­vic­tion was taken into con­sid­er­a­tion by the court when sen­tenc­ing Hop­kins.

DFO reminds the pub­lic that il­le­gal fish­ing is a threat to the sus­tain­abil­ity of im­por­tant fish­ing re­sources. Any one with in­for­ma­tion on sus­pi­cious fish­ing ac­tiv­ity or the vi­o­la­tion of fish habitiat is en­cour­aged to con­tact the near­est DFO Canada of­fice (772-4423) or Crime Stop­pers (1-800-222-8477).

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