An investigation by officers with the Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Division into salmon poaching on the Northern Peninsula has led to a conviction and jail time for an individual from the area.
In June 2013, officers from the Roddickton detachment received a complaint from the public related to an alleged commercialized salmon poaching operation. With the assistance of the RCMP and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Division established a surveillance exercise and observed a man illegally netting salmon during the closed season in an area near Conche.
As a result of the investigation, Gerald A. Byrne of Conche was arrested and charged with a number of offences related to poaching salmon. At Provincial Court in St. Anthony on April 9, 2015, Mr. Byrne was convicted of violations under the Federal Fisheries Act for fishing during a closed time and illegal netting of salmon. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail and given a seven-year prohibition from holding a fishing licence and from being in or on inland and coastal waters, except for being on a ferry for transport.
Mr. Byrne, who had prior convictions for fishing violations, also received a $700 fine for possession of untagged salmon under the Provincial Wildlife Act and was given a five-year prohibition from holding a fishing licence. All items seized in the investigation were forfeited to the Crown including eight Atlantic salmon, a boat and motor, an aluminum wheelbarrow and other miscellaneous items.