A 63-year-old Pender Harbor resident has been slapped with fines totaling $5,000 for offenses under the Federal Fisheries Act and British Columbia’s sport fishing regulations.
In Sechelt District Court on February 7, David C. Reed pleaded guilty to making a false statement to a fisheries official, catching shrimp using more than four traps, and fishing using unknown shrimp traps.
At sentencing, Judge Stephen Merrick imposed fines below the $7,000 level sought by federal Crown counsel but above the $1,500 suggested by the defense as appropriate. He was ordered to pay the penalty over 32 months, in recognition of the obligations Reid faces in relation to his extended family.
After being charged with the three violations on May 2, 2023, fisheries officers confiscated a quantity of Reid’s fishing gear. His attorney asked for the equipment, valued at between $1,710 and $1,850, to be returned, but Merrick ruled to uphold the confiscation.
In her report, Molly Green, a federal Crown attorney based in Vancouver, explained that on the date of the charges, a federal fisheries officer observed Reid, on his boat, harvesting shrimp from a series of eight traps and then traveling to a second location for another catch. A series of eight traps.
Green said the officer reported boarding the boat and confirmed that Reid held a recreational fishing license and, as a First Nations person, an Indigenous group fishing license for food, social or ceremonial purposes (FSC). These allowed him to hunt with up to eight traps. It stated that the officer reported that he noticed that eight of the 16 traps placed were not identified as belonging to Reed but as belonging to a member of his family. When asked about observing her pulling more traps than allowed under his license, she said Reed made a false statement and then repeated it to the officer.
Reid’s defense lawyer did not dispute the facts presented by the Crown but asked for leniency in imposing the fine by providing an explanation of the circumstances surrounding the crimes. The family member who owned the second set of decoys usually accompanied Reid when he checked the gear. On the date in question, that person, who also held a recreational hunting license and an FSC fishing license, was ill and had not travelled. The defense position was that if the family member had been healthy enough to participate in the collection of traps on the date in question, there would have been no violation of the hunting rules.
The defense statement also noted that Reed eventually admitted to the officer that he alone caught shrimp from more than eight traps that day. It was also noted that the accused pleaded guilty to the three crimes at his second appearance, saving the court time in considering the matter.