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Crab fishermen fined total of $16,000 for 2017 incident off Port au Choix

On May 8, 2017, crab harvesters surrounded a Canadian Coast Guard vessel and set their crab gear in an area where they were not permitted to do so. Five harvesters have been found guilty of charges relating to the incident.
On May 8, 2017, crab harvesters surrounded a Canadian Coast Guard vessel and set their crab gear in an area where they were not permitted to do so. Five harvesters have been found guilty of charges relating to the incident. - Contributed

Protest in frustration against crab fishing policy proves costly

PORT AU CHOIX, N.L. —

Five Northern Peninsula crab fishermen have received their sentencing after being found guilty of charges relating to a 2017 incident off of Port au Choix.
Dean Offrey, Joseph Hynes, Benedict Lavers, Edmund Moores and George Plowman were each found guilty of obstructing a fisheries official and failure to comply with condition of fishing license.
Offrey was also convicted on a charge of dangerous operation of a vessel.
In provincial court in Port au Choix on Sept. 19, the five men were ordered to pay various fines, totaling $16,000.
Offrey was fined $3,500 for obstruction, $500 for fishing in the wrong area, and $1,000 for dangerous operation of a vessel. He was given 26 months to pay, with a payment schedule of $200 a month, starting at the end of October 2019.
Moores and Hynes each received a fine of $3,000 for obstruction and $500 for fishing in the wrong area. They were given 19 months to pay $200 a month, also starting at the end of October 2019.
Plowman was fined $2,500 for obstruction and $500 for fishing in the wrong area. He was given 15 months to pay, starting at the end of October 2019.
Lavers, meanwhile, pleaded guilty at an earlier court date to fishing in the wrong area. He was fined $1,000 with six months to pay.
The charges stemmed from an incident on May 8, 2017, when the five Area 4R crab harvesters took their boats off the shores of Port au Choix and laid down their pots in Area 13 — where they were not permitted to do so.
The boats also surrounded a Canadian Coast Guard vessel, preventing it from moving.
The men told The Northern Pen at the time they were protesting out of frustration against a policy that allowed boats from Quebec to fish crab in Area 13, while Newfoundland harvesters had to travel 30 miles from the Port au Choix shore to Area 12 to fish their crab.

Earlier story: 2017: Inshore crab and shrimp harvesters took to the water near Port au Choix to protest the handling of the fishery

stephen.roberts@northernpen.ca


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