P.E.I. herring fisherman fined after selling fish for bait

Steve Sharratt
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GEORGETOWN - A $30 pan of herring turned into a $500 fine for a P.E.I. fisherman charged in a precedent setting case this fall.

Steven Cameron Irving was on Fishermen’s Bank, which is off Beach Point, P.E.I., on Oct. 5 when he sold a pan of herring for bait to another boat captain fishing tuna.

The transfer was made as the boats came alongside each other.

However, under the law, no herring catch can be unloaded from a fishing vessel unless it’s examined at the wharf by a dockside monitor to regulate the seasonal quota.

The Montague based fisherman pleaded guilty, but told the judge he was doing it as a favour and suggested his actions were actually more environmentally sustainable in the long run.

“That (tuna) fisherman could have just sank a net and pulled up thousands of pounds of fish to get his bait,” said Irving. “He could have taken what he needed (for bait) and the rest (of the fish) would be thrown back dead.”

Even the crown prosecutor said the case was unique and there was no precedent regarding sentencing.

Irving said he was “technically” guilty for the action, but suggested the legality of the matter is flawed.

"The other fisherman only needed 150 pounds of herring and I wasn’t trying to hide the fact,’’ he told the judge. “I saw the fisheries officers, but didn’t think they would charge me for something like this.”


Geographic location: GEORGETOWN, Fishermen, Beach Point

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Recent comments

  • northsider
    December 14, 2015 - 20:00

    This is crazy.. I had to read this a couple times. What is the name of you know who is this island coming to.. like I don't know who charged him and wether it was the officers choice2 or a senior in the office but I thought we had better people patrolling our waters than that.. I think they should get some of the old timers in like the Brians ,Shiedows , Benards, Murdocks . These Era of men used common sense. I'm not talking about them all in there as there is some good people I do respect . But there is some that just don't see how things should work... the Nets I've seen sitting out there for weeks just to keep tuna in the area... 10s of thousands of pounds in the Gulf. . . This man helping a fellow fisher out with a pan of herring that is mainly caught for the eggs and more less disposed of..well some of it... and the way these OFFICERS let the gaspereau fishers have 1-3box nets in a small run like dalvay.. wow these fish have a chance.. or the massive poaching that is done with the halibut.. seen pictures of a boat with 24 extra halibut that was caught over the quota... almost a TANK of filets. .and it's going on a lot. . Or the massive herring seiners that raped the spring /summer and probably fall fishery. . Not like it was and a lot less boats.. WELL I HOPE THAT PAN OF HERRING REALLY WAS WORTH THE COURTS THE FISHERIES AND THE FISHERS TIME.. THINK ALL THE TIME THAT WENT INTO CHARGING THIS FISHER FOR A PAN.. THE CHARGES.. THE PAPERWORK.. THE CALLS.. THEN PROBABLY A TRIP TO GUYS HOUSE TO QUESTION HIM . THEN THE COURT. . WE THE TAXPAYER JUST WENT 5000$IN DEBT FOR AN $12 PAN HERRING... MERRY XMAS

  • The Premier
    December 14, 2015 - 10:52

    Selling bait , lobster and scallops for tax free cash is routine on PEI and all while drawing huge sales based fishing EI claims that they know can't be touched ! DFO and CRA has no idea what the actual landed catch is .

  • Joe Doe
    December 14, 2015 - 10:24


    December 14, 2015 - 09:09

    These fishery officers need to take a course in common sense and humanity. They are going too far ever since they started carrying guns they think they are all Wyat Earp's. They hid behind buildings after searching a boat at Jude's Point and charged a young man who had a salmon that was dead in his mackeral nets .This is ridiculous. Large seiners are allowed to keep fish other than what they are fishing for as by-catch, which is often more that the fish they are trying to catch.150 lbs. of herring in relation to the whole quota is infinitesimal, especially in light of the fact that herring are caught for their spawn only and many hundreds of tons are thrown back if the spawn is not mature enough. I guess if this was a hanging offence, well......I just hope these fish officers are in a boat that is broke down in a storm and I bet Mr Irving if he was handy would be the first to tow them in to port, FREE. If it were me, they'd be waiting a long time for the Coast Guard. A warning should have been enough. I hope that fish officer has a Merry Christmas.

  • Dug
    December 14, 2015 - 08:23

    Yeah, lets crack down on a fisher for selling 30 bucks worth of herring, while we give a drunk driver a slap on the wrist and tell him not to do it again, PEI justice at its finest.