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A Lake Erie commercial fishing boat captain has been fined a total of $40,000 for commercial fishing violations.

Melchiorre Pace of Leamington, captain of the commercial fishing vessel "AD-CO II", pleaded guilty to violating the terms and conditions of a commercial fishing licence. Pace was fined $40,000 for submitting Daily Catch Reports (DCRs) with false information. Pace also pleaded guilty to failing to maintain an accurate and complete commercial fishing logbook. He received a court order requiring him, for a period of three years, to only operate commercial fishing vessels that have a Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry monitored GPS unit installed.

Court heard that between May 24 and July 16, 2013, conservation officers investigated the commercial fishing activities of Pace. The investigation revealed that Pace was submitting DCRs containing false information in relation to the location where he was conducting his commercial fishing activities. He was also falsely reporting the length of time that he left his gill nets in the water and he declared less than half of the total length of gill nets that he was actually using. The investigation also showed that Pace had entered false information in his commercial fishing logbook. On multiple occasions, Pace declared in his logbook that he set gill nets in areas where he did not. He also set gill nets in locations that he failed to record in his logbook.

Justice Lucy C. Glenn heard the case in the Ontario Court of Justice, Chatham, on July 10, 2014.

To report a natural resource violation, call 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667) toll-free any time or contact your ministry office during regular business hours. You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

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