Bass Tournament Organizer Fined $9,000 For Not Following Licence Conditions

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) wants to remind fishing tournament organizers that they must follow all the conditions of licences and authorizations issued to them.

On July 15, 2019, conservation officers responded to several tips about a bass fishing tournament that had been held on the St. Lawrence River near Gananoque. The conservation officers were told there were dozens of fish killed over the course of the two-day tournament.

An investigation discovered 195 dead bass, including 188 dead bass in plastic bags found in the garbage.

On November 10, 2020, via conference call, Justice of the Peace Stéphanie Goffin-Boyd convicted Ben Woo of Tracyville, New Brunswick of one count of failing to abide by the terms and conditions of a licence.

Woo was the tournament organizer who held the licence allowing fishing tournament participants to transport live fish from Ontario waters to be weighed and measured, and then to transport the live fish back to the waters they were taken from. Some of the standard conditions of the licence require oxygen levels and temperatures that keep fish alive and healthy, immediate mandatory reporting to MNRF if more than five per cent of the fish die, and that any dead fish be kept on ice, so they don’t spoil.

Woo was fined $9,000 and had his recreational fishing licence suspended for five years.

MNRF conservation officers continue to patrol and protect our natural resources during the current COVID-19 outbreak and would like to remind everyone that by respecting seasons, sanctuaries, bag and possession limits we all help ensure our natural resources stay healthy. Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.

To report a natural resource violation or provide information about an unsolved case, members of the public can call the ministry TIPS line toll free at 1-877-847-7667 or contact your local ministry office. You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS. For more information about unsolved cases, please visit ontario.ca/mnrftips.

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