Improper lobster gear leads to fine

Transcontinental Staff
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SUMMERSIDE - Unknowingly using the wrong measuring tool earned a Tignish fisher a $1,500 fine for possessing illegal female lobster.

Randy Edward Doyle, 36, pleaded guilty in Summerside Provincial Court Thursday to possessing two short female lobsters.

Department of Fisheries and Oceans officers inspected Doyle's catch when he came into the Tignish port on June 26.

Shocked by their findings, Doyle immediately checked the instruments he used to measure lobster and found one he had just purchased had incorrect measurements.

The gauge is used to measure female markets. Female lobster over a certain size, by law, must be thrown back for conservation purposes.

"With the measure we had we were throwing over good lobster," said Doyle, who had no previous record. "I'm sure we threw over more than $2,000 (worth of lobster). It was just my luck it had to be passed to my end."

He told the court he went into a local fish supplier to buy the gauge, left with it and started using it that morning. Doyle didn't inspect it, thinking it was the proper instrument that he was supposed to be using.

"We weren't deliberately trying to take in two extra lobster," said the fisher.

Judge Jeff Lantz said while it was unfortunate that Doyle unknowingly was using the wrong measuring instrument it was still his duty as captain of the vessel to ensure he the proper equipment.

Lantz gave Doyle four months to pay the fine.

Organizations: Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Geographic location: Tignish

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