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Benoit's Cove lobster fisherman fined for having too many tags

It was more a matter of compliance than conservation, but it still cost a Benoit’s Cove man $1,250 when he appeared in provincial court in Corner Brook on Tuesday.

In May of this year Alban Gallant reported the loss of around 25 lobster pots to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and later submitted a replacement request that resulted in him being issued 43 replacement tags.

He had been originally issued 220 tags.

On June 18, a DFO vessel inspecting gear in the area located pots that belonged to Alban Gallant. In checking a list of his pots and tags it was discovered that 27 pots reported as missing were either set or in his possession.

The tags he had for the pots exceeded the total that he was permitted to have under his licence and he was charged with failure to comply with the condition of a licence.

He pleaded guilty to the charge during Tuesday’s appearance.

His lawyer, Don Gallant, told the court that his client did not actively fish more than what his licence allowed.

He said the pots that had been reported missing were later relocated in an area that Alban Gallant did not fish in and were put back in his set, but he didn’t notify DFO of that.

Federal Crown attorney Mark Mills said there was no indication of overfishing as the lobsters taken were within his limit.

He said it was a matter of compliance in his failure to report the pots had been found.

He suggested the fine of $1,250 would be suitable in the case and that it was a joint submission. He said the pots that were seized will be returned to Alban Gallant. It was noted that Alban Gallant has since retired from fishing.

Judge Catherine Allen-Westby agreed with the submission and gave him 30 days to pay the fine.

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