Boyd Payne may have turned a blind eye to the excessive load of crab being landed on the dock in Rocky Harbour in April 2012, but his actions were not overlooked by the judge who sentenced him Tuesday.
Payne, 49, was fined $500 in provincial court in Corner Brook Tuesday for providing false information in the course of his duties as a fishery observer, the offence under the Fisheries Act to which he pleaded guilty to.
He was employed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans as a dockside monitor at the time, but ignored his responsibility to report a landing of crab that was in excess of the quota assigned to the fish harvester who had caught the crab.
Judge Wayne Gorman was told Payne allowed about 90 pounds of crab to be offloaded than he should not have permitted.
The court also heard that Payne did not receive any benefit from allowing the excessive crab.
Lynn Cole, who represented Payne, asked Gorman for a discharge because her client had no prior record and did not gain financially from the offence.
Crown attorney Andrew May sought the fine of $500 that Gorman eventually endorsed. The judge agreed with May that the sentence had to emphasize the importance of accurate recordings of fish catches for conservation purposes.
“I have concluded the imposition of a discharge would be contrary to the public interest,” Gorman said in sentencing Payne, who was not present in court Tuesday.
“The serious breach of trust and the reliance, for conservation purposes, upon accurate reporting of catches persuades me that a conviction must be entered.”