The seizure took place on the night of 22 to 23 June, at the dock of the Turret, near Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, in the Gaspé peninsula.
June 29, 2020 18h09
Illegal fishing of lobster and cod near Sainte-Anne-des-Monts
CARLETON – the Three men in the sector Turret of the Sainte-Anne-des-Monts will eventually have to respond to charges of illegal fishing in connection with a significant seizure made in the night from 22 to 23 June by officers of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Sûreté du Québec.
The seizure took place at the quai de Tourelle, in Gaspésie, while the three men returning with the catch of lobster and groundfish, especially cod, carried out at night. The three suspects did not possess a commercial fishing license. The fishery officers have not only seized significant volumes of catches, but also the boat, in a boat of lobster traps and lines to fish for groundfish.
The fines may briefly rise to $ 100,000 if the three fishermen were found guilty, but Jean-Pierre Sylvestre, chief of resource protection for the Gaspésie and the Lower St. Lawrence area Fisheries and Oceans Canada advises that the issue could be more important.
“The illegal fishing of lobster was place in an area of exploratory fishing, where one evaluates the resource for a future in commercial fishing, may be. This (illegal fishing) comes to distort the data in relation to fishing potential. The facts of illegal jeopardise the research,” he notes.
The investigation is far from over because these three fishermen went probably a good part of their catch to customers for a fee.
“Other people will be encountered during the course of the next few days, a little everywhere in Quebec. There is a network attached to it,” adds Sylvestre.
The volume of the quantities seized is not unveiled because it will be a element of significant investigation when the suspects will be brought to court. Generally, this type of case is heard in criminal court, but the law on fisheries is mixed, which opens the door to possible criminal charges if the violations reach a certain degree of severity. Criminal charges can lead to prison sentences.
The Sûreté du Québec participated in the capture because some of the suspects had a criminal past and the police wanted to question in connection with another case.
The trial will not take place in the coming weeks, warns Jean-Pierre Sylvestre. “There are a lot of people to meet and it can take a year, sometimes more, before a case like this is resolved,” he said.
The ship seized was a fishing vessel for which no licence was attached to this year. The value of the property seized to the time amounts easily to several tens of thousands of dollars.
The lobster harvesters of the Gaspé region have made significant sacrifices over the past 23 years for their resource gain force, with good results. As for cod, its biomass is still considered to be in a precarious state by the specialists.