Three fishermen were issued significant fines and prohibition orders after pleading guilty in the Antigonish Provincial Court in Canada to a total of 27 charges related to violations committed under both catch-and-release and commercial bluefin tuna licences issued by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO).
George W. Boyle and Dale C. Trenholm, both of Bayfield, Antigonish County, and Evan R. McDormand of Westport, Digby County, were charged after an undercover operation by DFO fishery officers in the Ballantyne’s Cove, Nova Scotia, area in October 2014.
All three men pleaded guilty to several charges of violating catch-and-release licence conditions, including failing to release Bluefin tuna, possession of tuna, fishing with illegal gear including barbed hooks, hooking more tuna than permitted per fishing trip and infractions related to bait fishing.
Boyle, who is named as the holder of both licences, also pleaded guilty separately to charges of falsifying mandatory catch-and-release logbooks which document fishing activity. As well, he pleaded guilty to violating conditions of his commercial bluefin license by not tagging a tuna immediately after catching it and not recording the commercial catch in a logbook.
He was fined a total of $30,000 and his commercial Bluefin licence was suspended for two years during which time he is also prohibited from taking part in the fishery in any way. In addition, his catch-and-release license was suspended for five years during which time he is prohibited from taking part in the fishery in any way.
Trenholm received fines totalling $20,000 and McDormand’s fines total $15,000. They were also prohibited from taking part in any way in the catch-and-release fishery for five years and in the commercial fishery for two years.
For several years DFO has been investigating concerns of illegal activity in both the catch-and-release and commercial bluefin tuna fisheries in the Antigonish area, NS. The success of this operation by fishery officers and the penalties imposed by the court are expected to serve as major deterrents to illegal activity in this fishery.