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Bonne Bay fishermen fined $1,000

Two Bonne Bay fishermen charged with obstructing a fisheries official will each pay the price of $1,000 for their actions last October.

Darrell Poirier of Trout River and Shawn Brake of Woody Point were crewmembers on board the Labrador Coast, a vessel owned and operated by Lowell Brake of Trout River.

Early in the morning of Oct. 10, 2017, Department of Fisheries and Oceans fisheries officers were conducting surveillance in the area of Woody Point. They were waiting for boats returning from the turbot fishery so that inspections could be conducted.

One of the officers located at the lighthouse informed the other two of a vessel steaming into Bonne Bay and just after 5 a.m. informed them the vessel was proceeding to the wharf at nearby Curzon Village.

The officers proceeded to the wharf where they observed three vessels tied to each other with the one that just arrived, the Labrador Coast, tied the farthest from the wharf.

Lowell Brake was observed stepping onto the wharf and it appeared that when he was able to identify the people in the truck as fisheries officers he made signals with his arms and hands in the direction of his boat that appeared suspicious in nature.

The officers quickly exited their vehicle and one of them saw two males wearing rubber clothes and holding a heavy fish pan with rubber clothes on top.

When they saw the officer, they tried to move out of view and the officer yelled “don’t dump anything” at them.

The officers then heard a large splash into the water. When they approached the vessel the men, later identified as Poirier and Shawn Brake, had stepped onto they saw the men with an empty fish pan, and two halibut sinking to the bottom and the rubber clothes in the water. One of the fish was in plastic bag, but the officer was not able to retrieve it before it sank.

A total of three halibut were observed on the ocean floor directly below where the pan was dumped.  

In his submissions, Federal Crown attorney Andrew May said the two men were crew members who were apparently following the direction of their skipper.

He said halibut is a highly valued species and one for which there is a market at the wharf and suggested a $1,000 fine for both men.

Judge Catherine Allen-Westby agreed the suggested fine met the principles of general and specific deterrence.

“If $1,000 hasn’t taught you a lesson nothing will,” she said to the men.

Lowell Brake was also charged with obstructing a fisheries official, unlawfully possessing or selling fish, possession of fish whose size cannot be readily determined and three counts of failure to comply with the condition of a licence.

His charges were set over for possible speedy disposition on Nov. 6 in Rocky Harbour.

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