A Corner Brook judge has convicted two Bonne Bay men and a company partly owned by one them of illegal fishing.
In his written decision released Friday, Judge Wayne Gorman said the Crown has proven that Lindsey Crocker, Todd Young and Gauvin and Noel Company Ltd. committed offences with which they are charged. Young is an owner of the company.
The three were charged with operating a vessel while unnamed in a fishing licence and unlawfully fishing from a vessel without a valid vessel registration card.
Crocker was also charged with failure to comply with the condition of a licence.
The charges were laid in November 2016.
During trial the Crown said Crocker and Young were involved in a scheme to catch fish together under one licence while sharing the proceeds obtained from the sale of the fish.
Young was skipper of the Nicole Daniel, which at the time was fishing for herring near Woody Point under a licence issued to Gauvin and Noel Company Ltd. A portion of the herring caught was transferred to a smaller vessel, the Mary Shauna, and to a skiff, both of which had been skippered by Crocker.
The Crown alleged the scheme was designed to preserve a portion of the company’s quota, despite it having caught the fish, while allowing for both captains to benefit financially.
The Crown also said Crocker lied about the net utilized when he completed his log book.
The evidence presented at the trial, with hearing dates in June, July, September, October, November and on Tuesday of this week, was that the Nicole Daniel transferred about 40,000 pounds of the herring it had caught to the Mary Shauna and the skiff. The skiff did not have a registration card and Crocker was not authorized to use it for fishing.
While the Nicole Daniel was using a purse seine to fish, Crocker’s licence restricted him to using a bar seine or a tuck seine.
After the herring was transferred to the two vessels, Crocker landed and sold it, and the Nicole Daniel landed and sold the remaining herring it had caught.
The transfer of the herring was observed by fisheries officers who were conducting surveillance from an area on land near the lighthouse in Woody Point.
When the officers later approached Crocker at the wharf in Woody Point the skiff contained about 14,000 pounds of herring and the Mary Shauna about 26,000 pounds.
Young recorded that he kept about 120,000 pounds of herring during the fishing trip.
The matter will be back in court on Dec. 18 for submissions.
Edited on Jan. 24, 2019 to correct information