Ministry of Natural Resources News
A 16-month investigation into illegal fishing has resulted in 119 charges against three Windsor-area people and a Windsor business.On May 15, 2008, Ministry of Natural Resources conservation officers executed search warrants on residences in the Town of Lasalle and a commercial establishment in the City of Windsor. Conservation officers seized two vehicles, one boat, fish processing equipment, fishing gear and a quantity of fish.The 119 charges have now been laid against two individuals from Lasalle, one individual from Woodslee and a commercial establishment in Windsor. The charges include catching overlimits of fish, buying and selling fish illegally, transporting illegally caught fish, and illegally possessing a gill net and hook line.Conservation officers allege that the offences took place between April 2007 and May 2008 when large quantities of fish were taken from the Detroit River and the part of Lake Erie adjacent to Essex County.In order to harvest and sell fish in Ontario, a commercial fishing licence is required from the Ministry of Natural Resources. Fish retail outlets can only purchase fish for the purpose of resale from fish processing plants or holders of commercial fishing licences. It is also illegal for anyone to purchase or sell any angler-caught fish.A Lake Erie commercial fishing boat captain has been fined $2,320 for breaking a number of fishing violations.
Emilio Mauricio, 48, of Leamington, captain of the commercial fishing vessel “MI-MARK”, pleaded guilty and was fined $2,320 for four fishing violations. These included failing to submit an accurate and complete daily catch report to the Ministry of Natural Resources, fishing outside of his permitted fishing grounds and allowing approximately 200 lbs. of yellow perch to spoil and become unsuitable for human consumption.
Court was told that on August 21, 2007, conservation officers investigated an alleged incident of inaccurate information being reported on a daily catch report involving the commercial fishing vessel “MI-MARK” while it was fishing out of the port of Erieau, on Lake Erie. Further investigation also determined that the fishing vessel was fishing in Chatham-Kent waters and not Elgin County waters as reported by the captain, and that fish were permitted to spoil.
Justice of the Peace Babcock heard the federal charges in the Ontario Court of Justice in Chatham on July 17, 2008 and Justice of the Peace Hurst heard the provincial charges in the Ontario Court of Justice in Chatham on August 13, 2008.
To report a natural resources violation, call 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667) toll-free any time or contact your local ministry office during regular business hours. You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).