A decision by a New Brunswick crab fisherman to leave his traps in the water so his wife could pick them up later has proven costly for the couple.
Kenneth J. Gaudet, 54, of Grand-Barachois, N.B., recently pleaded guilty to two counts under the Fisheries Act, one for fishing for crab without authorization and another for possessing fish caught in contravention of the act.
The charges were heard in P.E.I. provincial court in Summerside as he was fishing in waters off P.E.I.
The fishing charge is from between May 17 and 21, while the possession charge is from between May 11 and May 21. Both charges are from 2016 and took place in Crab Fishing Area 12.
According to the Crown’s facts of the case, Kenneth had a licence to fish for crab in Crab Fishing Area 12 until May 17.
On May 18 Kenneth, in accordance with licensing regulations, transferred his vessel to his wife, Bonnie Gaudet, who had her own fishing licence for 75 tagged crab traps.
That same day, the couple’s vessel left port with Bonnie as the captain and Kenneth as a deck hand.
On May 19 the boat returned to port with 10,749 pounds of snow crab on board.
That day DFO conducted an inspection and seized all the crab, along with 29 traps, ropes and buoys.
DFO used GPS tracking evidence and visual inspection of traps at sea and on the wharf to conclude that Kenneth had left 38 traps in the water overnight on May 17, which was technically after his licence had expired, and Bonnie had picked them up over the next day or so.
Kenneth was fined $38,160. The valued of the crab seized was $37,621.
In addition to the fine, Kenneth will be under various fishing restrictions for the next three years.