Thursday, July 30, 2009

The cost of illegal fishing in BC...

The following could well serve as a primer, as to why you should never let your parents intercede on your behalf, with the government authorities of any country.

We received this e-mail which had protective features embedded into it, so that we could not even reply to it. Kudos!

The script meanders all over the map, but basically it is a woman writing in defense of her son, from what I can make out, who happens to be an American citizen. So the first consideration is that this whole epic, is written by a third party who was not actually in attendance and therefore could not possibly bear witness to any one of these events. This whole e-mail is nothing but hearsay, inuendo and supposition. Much of this diatribe has to do with Washington State Fish and Game / Wildlife officers, although there is actually a segment where this lad who has hired himself out as a bona fide professional fishing guide, duly accredited by the State of Washington, brings customers into Canadian waters and breaks a variety of laws.

Whether an individual becomes a professional fishing guide in the US of A or right here in Canada, it goes without saying that they are required to be intimately familiar with all federal and provincial or State fishing regulations which exist. They are not simply a water taxi. This applies if they are fishing in salt or freshwater. You cannot be a guide and not know this. This is why in many parts of Canada, if you are a non-resident, you will be obliged to use the services of a guide, to come fishing here.

The author of this e-mail makes a lot of the fact that the person in question is a Marine, who served a tour of duty in Iraq and saw a friend of his die. Not to make light of this by any means, but you will be very hard-pressed to find any Marine who has served a tour of duty in Iraq, who has not seen at least one of his friends die. If not several of them. It must be stated however, that neither his military service, nor the fact that he has been diagnosed (?) with PTSD, are germaine to this account. They have absolutely no bearing on this situation whatsoever. None of this renders him unaccountable for his actions either in the State of Washington or in Canadian waters in the Pacific Region.

This person regardless of his diagnosis, is supposedly at any rate, a Marine. Unless Marines are way different than back when I was serving (and I know they're not...) this e-mail is an insult to anyone who has ever worn/earned the Eagle, Globe and Anchor. For the author of this e-mail to attempt to describe the perp as some milquetoast individual, who is without any common sense, organizational skills or situational awareness, is perhaps not the best way to try to 'help' him. Either the author is completely fabricating this person's military background (which is what I suspect...), or she is interpreting his PTSD as a form of mental retardation.

Read on if you wish... maybe you can decipher something here that I totally missed. I've taken the liberty of blanking out any pertinent names involved.


"Washington State Fisheries Agents pose as clients for *** ******* of ************ Guides in March of 2009. (This is hearsay. Does she know for a fact these 2 individuals are actually officers for the Washington State Fish and Game authorities? - Crypt.)
*** had just received his Washington State Guides license.

*** served with the US Marine Corp for 4 years and completed a tour of duty in Iraq. (True? - Crypt.)
As a matter of fact *** was just promoted Sergeant this week of the IRR (Individual Ready Reserves - Crypt.) in the Marines. (Hmmmm.... Individual Ready Reserves are the reserve force of the Marines which is composed of Marines who have finished their active duty or SMCR obligations, however their names remain on the books to be called up in case of a war or other emergency. Would someone supposedly diagnosed with PTSD be retained in the IRR...? - Crypt.)

*** saw his buddy being killed 2 vehicles ahead of him – and other atrocities of human evilness. (Doesn't matter... - Crypt.)
*** was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. (Doesn't matter... - Crypt.)

*** was trying to get a fishing guide business off the ground to support him and his wife, *******, living in Blaine.

*** moved close to his and *******’s family who live in South Surrey, BC Canada to help him through his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. (Doesn't matter... - Crypt.)
The Washington State agents used the name Rob and Julie Miller (posing as a married couple). (Again, how do we know this is truth or fiction? - Crypt.)
*** guided them on the Skagit River in Washington State.

The agents hire *** again for a trip on the Nooksack River, Washington State.

Advertising on ***’s website, he mentioned fishing for Chinooks on the Nooksack for "catch and release". (Interesting... I've never heard of catch and release salmon fishing anywhere in Canada. - Crypt.)
The Washington state regulations say Chinooks are closed but other species were open. The confusion (Seems pretty straightforward to me... - Crypt.) in how it read lead him to believe it was catch and release.

Being a new resident of Washington and new to guiding it is extremely difficult to interpret the true intent of the regulations. (Bullshit... If he couldn't interpret the regulations, he should have checked with WFG and he certainly shouldn't have been guiding anyone. - Crypt).
Fisheries of Washington State suggest that you have to say your are targeting Summer Run Steelhead when in reality, it is the same type of gear to catch Chinooks. (Dubious - Crypt).

If the Nooksack Chinooks are endangered then shouldn’t the river be shut down so anglers are not "accidently on purpose" catching Chinooks.
(Anglers are expected to know the difference. So should guides - Crypt.)
It is not clearly written in the regulations that an angler cannot target Chinooks on the Nootsack. (Highly dubious - Crypt.)

*** and "Rob and Julie" were fishing on the Nooksack River.

Rob asks *** to fish with roe.

*** states that there is a bait ban in that area.

Rob asks for it anyway (begging).

*** says there is a $100 fine.

Rob tells *** – "That’s ok, I will pay the fine".

Rob also tells *** that he hates the Fish and Wildlife officers.

*** gives him the roe and Rob used the roe ALL day fishing. (In that case, *** is a dummy because he should have known that he would be held responsible. He is after all, their guide accredited by the State of Washington. - Crypt.)

Others around them are fishing roe as well. (That makes no difference whatsoever... - Crypt.)

The fisheries officer does not give out any warnings or citations to anyone but continue to fish illegally all day and let others do the same. (To do so would have been to tip their hand - Crypt.)

The job of law enforcement is to give out citations when they see a violation of the laws of the land. (Your definition, unfortunately. Obviously, not that of the WFG... - Crypt.)

*** was wrong to give the bait and should have received a warning or fine at that point in time.

The agents entrapped *** and they continued to break the law. (They remained in character - Crypt.)

This would be the same type of scenario of a Police woman dressed like a prostitute and tempting a "John" BUT continuing on with the act of sex and never charging him until months later. (Hardly - Crypt.)

Rob and Julie were trying to get *** to do as many things wrong as possible. (It's called accumulating evidence of wrongdoing - Crypt.)

It is no wonder people in our society have little or no respect for officers in authority. (That's right... Everyone should be able to break the law and go unpunished... the nerve of the government! - Crypt.)

On May 12th, Rob and Julie hire *** once again to fish on the ocean.
Another person joins them posing as their friend, Stef, who turns out to be a Canadian DFO undercover agent! (Also known simply as a Fisheries Officer - Crypt.)

*** gets their information and purchases their Canadian licenses on line for their trip to "East Point" fishing rockfish and lingcod off of Tumbo Island. (Fishing rockfish? Ever hear of RCAs, or Rockfish Conservation Areas, of which there are several on the West Coast? - Crypt.)

Their trip goes fantastic. They caught fish and fed the eagles a couple small rockfish so the clients could get pictures of eagles up close. (Again... RCAs anyone??? - Crypt.)

This is a very common practice amongst recreational fishermen and guides in the Northwest. (The Northwest what? United States? Better check with WFG about that. Here in Canada, better check with DFO about that... - Crypt.)

The clients come back to Blaine to the boat ramp. *** takes them to his house and cleans their fish for them for free. The agents went and purchased a 12 pack of Kokanee at the Chevron in Blaine and drank 11 of them (*** had 1) at ***’s home.

Julie does not really drink beer – perhaps she had one. So Rob and Stefan drank them and then Rob drove the vehicle away. (Doesn't matter... - Crypt.)
On duty agents drinking and driving? (Again, hearsay...and from someone who was not even in the same area of the country... who's to know? - Crypt.)

The clients hire *** once again for a salt water trip on July 24th. (Clearly *** doesn't learn... - Crypt.)
*** prepares with getting special lures for the woman as she states she likes the pink ones.

*** is a people pleaser. (Okay, so he's a people-pleasing criminal... - Crypt.)
They head to East Point once again in a 20 foot Custom Weld jet boat that is owned by his parents, ** and **** *******. (Interesting, he's using his parents' pleasure craft for conducting a commercial business. I'm pretty sure there are laws in the US against that, just as there are here in Canada. Crypt.)
The undercover agents (Rob, Julie and Stef) were having a great time fishing and catching their rock fish and a huge lingcod. When they caught a legal size lingcod, *** immediately recorded their catch on their license as it states in the Canadian fishing regulations. (This should not be seen as a laudable act. It's what he's required to do by law. - Crypt.) Rob and Stef were making nasty sexual jokes all morning. (This has what to do with anything here? And while I'm at it, was the author actually there for any or all of this...? - Crypt.)

The agents caught an undersized small ling and asked *** to throw it to the eagles so they could get a picture.

*** refused saying it was not of legal size and that lingcod sink so an eagle could not get the fish.

He also knew it was wrong to retain an undersize lingcod. However there is no size limits on rockfish. (Again, you and he are assuming it was legal to fish for them at all in that area... - Crypt.)

The agents also kept suggesting they fish in a different spot and the San Juan Islands to catch more than their allowable catch in Canadian waters.

They were trying to get him to do things wrong by saying they wanted to fish in a certain place. All of which were not legal places to fish. (And if he complied with their wishes? Guess what? He is criminally responsible. Why? Because he is the guide and the master of that boat. He is absolutely responsible. - Crypt.)

When they had their limit of rockfish, the undercover agents wanted to feed the eagles to get more photos. (And the limit was what now? - Crypt.)
The undercover agents continued fishing and brought up a couple more rockfish.

It is common knowledge that a rockfish brought up from the depth of 30 feet or more stands little or no chance of survival. (It is common knowledge that rockfish are not an open species in many areas of British Columbia. - Crypt.)
After the fish was brought up, *** threw it to an eagle. (D-Uh! - Crypt.)
Immediately 4 Canadian DFO boats surrounded him, (Jesus Christ!! They just materialized out of nowhere, did they?? Were these boats submarines? Did he not see 4 DFO Conservation and Protection vessels shadowing him for what clearly must have been hours...? - Crypt.) HANDCUFFED HIM, (That's what we do with criminals in this country, Ma'am... - Crypt.) placed him in the front of a Zodiac boat for 1 ½ hour ride to Duncan, BC on Vancouver Island. *** said the pounding of the waves caused excruciating pain in his wrists as the handcuffs dug into his arms. (These particular words would never leave the mouth of any self-respecting Marine... - Crypt.) He was freezing with saltwater spray hitting him and was not given any king of garment for warmth. He was exposed to the elements. (Anyone who has gone through Marine training, notably 'The Crucible', would laugh at this passage... - Crypt.)

9 to 11 officers on hand for an arrest for feeding a rockfish to an eagle! (There were obviously many more charges than that... - Crypt.)

The undercover agents played dumb and said "Oh ***, are we fishing in illegal waters?"
(Which they were not) (Clearly they were... - Crypt.)

The arresting officers said "Yeah ***, ha ha fishing in illegal waters?"
They laughed and mocked him as he was arrested. (That's pretty much customary amongst law enforcement agencies around the world. They don't hold criminals in very high esteem, I'm afraid. - Crypt.)

In Duncan, they incarcerated him and turned him over to the Duncan RCMP who were shocked as to why he was in a jail cell! (I find that not only hard to believe, but incredibly naive of her. You'd have to go a lot further than that to "shock" a Mountie. - Crypt.)
*** called his parents and it took 6 more hours to get his release before the weekend. DFO required a $1000 cash bond. He was without his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder medication for well over 10 hours. (This is simply a matter of bad planning on ***'s part. Again, makes this Marine part very hard to swallow. - Crypt.)

The DFO confiscated the Custom Weld boat and requires a $30,000 to $40,000 deposit to get it back before the court date of August 25th. (That is standard procedure for Canadians as well... Fisheries offences result in the forfeiture of your gear, your vehicle, the lot... - Crypt.)

Does this punishment fit the crime? (Absolutely... Again, information he should have known before ever leaving home. - Crypt.)
Had he known that he could not feed an eagle a rockfish, he would not have done it. (D-uh! - Crypt.)
If the officers were really concerned about the rockfish, they would have given him a ticket or warning the first time they were fishing in May. (Clearly they were compiling a case. They treat businesses differently than they do individuals. - Crypt.)

The officers fished illegally to entrap ***. The agents caught the fish over their limit and they suggested feeding it to an eagle. (And *** took the bait. - Crypt.)

RCMP officers told *** in Duncan that men are brought into their facility after beating their wife up and they release them the next morning with no bail or fines. (Yes...? And...??? - Crypt.)
*** was released around 7 pm. A taxi fare of $120 had to be paid to get him to the ferry. He took the ferry back to the mainland.

Is the government trying to make an example of him? (No... This is called enforcing existing laws. It is an individual's RESPONSIBILITY to know and obey those laws and regulations. Again, you shouldn't, or wouldn't, have to tell a Marine about personal responsibility. - Crypt.)

Is this how they treat someone who has put his life on the line so we can have freedom? (Only when they come into our country and break the law. And who do you mean by "we"? You might have missed this, but it's OUR men and women who are serving overseas for Canada. - Crypt.)

***’s charges are:
Retaining extra rockfish (which was not retained but fed to the eagles) (That means it didn't make it back home, Ma'am... - Crypt.)

Failure to return rockfish in the manner it was taken.
Wasting rockfish.

To add insult to injury: (This deals with the WFG... again, nothing to do with our country, our regulations of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. It's just more background filler which is pointless and equally meaningless. - Crypt.)

Washington state fisheries had a search warrant for his home in Blaine to seize his computer. They also looked in his freezer to see if he had any illegal game or fish – they found none!

The reason the Fisheries and Wildlife officers checked his freezer is because Rob (Alias) told him that *** killed a moose calf in BC. *** had told him that they went on a hunt and they killed a moose calf.

** ******* (his father) had the tag and ** ******* pulled the trigger. That can be verified by others on the hunt. They found no moose meat or game in his freezer. All they found was a few fillets of smallmouth bass from Whatcom Lake.

Washington state fisheries also impounded Ben’s truck and our boat trailer from the Blaine boat ramp. (Clearly the laws in Washington State are very similar to our own here in Canada, when it comes to federal fisheries offenses. Crypt.)

*** met with officials on July 25th in Washington State and they said they were only citing him for targeting Chinook off season and fishing bait in a non bait area. The officer said it was a misdemeanor.

The Washington State Wildlife officers set him up for a fall in Canada.

Can you imagine the amount of funding this cost? (No... and it's a moot point anyway. These agents are at work 24/7. - Crypt.)

They undercover agents (clients) paid for 3 other trips. However, they did not pay for the trip on July 24th. They still owe him $400. (Ummm... I think the jury's still out on that one. And I dare say both governments are going to recoup a Hell of a lot more in fines, than was spent on those fishing excursions and a twelve-pack of Kokanee. - Crypt.)

Wouldn’t you think that the Fisheries in Washington State should come along side new guides and educate them with courses or material? (It's once again the individual's responsibility to learn what these rules and regulations are. - Crypt.) If the Fisheries Officers of Washington State built friendship and camaraderie to help this new guide, this world would be a much better place. Instead they built a fake friendship to stick a knife in Ben’s back. (That's called a 'covert operation'... - Crypt.)
Anyone with a couple hundred dollars can receive a guide’s license in Washington State. There is no test required to see if you understand the regulations. (Clearly there should be. There are here in Canada... And yet again, it's a moot point. See 'Individual Responsibility'... - Crypt.)

What a disgrace that the United States of America and Canada would get together to entrap, railroad, humiliate and use excessive punishment on a War Veteran! Then throw him to the wolves by getting him arrested in another country and making this an international mess! (The 'veteran' part is wearing thin. Not only that, but you are going to start embarassing other bona fide veterans with this kind of talk. The word entrap is only used by people who run afoul of the law and are looking for an excuse to not be punished. 'Railroad' implies: to convict an accused person without a fair trial or on trumped-up charges. Neither of which apply here, rendering her entire last paragraph null and void.- Crypt.)
*** has fished in Canada and the United States of America since he was 3 years old and has never a warning, ticket or violation and you certainly need to be a rocket scientist to figure out all the regulations. (That's the thing... You don't. To suggest that *** was unable to figure these laws out, in a field which he had chosen as a new livelihood, suggest either a bad career choice, or a weakened mental capacity. Not at all what someone might expect from a man who was presumably capable of making the Marine rank of Sergeant in 4 years. - Crypt.)

He has fished in British Columbia for 20 years and has never had one fishing violation! (That's where you're wrong. He now has several. However you could have said: "Up until now...". - Crypt.)

Please read the attached letter and I beg you for help.Thank you! (Contrary to what seems to be a widely-held belief, Ottawa has nothing to do with the way that the Fisheries Act is enforced in the Pacific Region. Or any other region of Canada. That's why the head regional offices exist in the six regions that make up DFO/CCG in Canada.)

(***'s Mom)

** and **** *******

***** ********* **.

Surrey, BC *** ***


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