Posted by on November 10, 2004 at 23:52:10:
A former Duncan resident has been fined $25,000 for poaching endangered abalone from the waters off Sooke.
David McGuire, now a Victoria resident, pleaded guilty in Western Communities provincial court to 13 counts of fishing for, possessing and selling abalone.
McGuire was arrested along with his cousin Michael McGuire in January of this year at the end of a year-long investigation into abalone poaching.
The pair were arrested at gunpoint after they were spotted hiding abalone in a cove. They had 446 abalone in their possession.
The case is significant because abalone is a threatened species and there hasn't been a fishery of it for 14 years, said Bryan Jubinville, the case's co-ordinator for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
The abalone the McGuires had when arrested were still alive. They were rehabilitated at the Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo and then returned to the wild.
"I hope the majority of them survived, but it is a traumatic experience for them," Jubinville said.
In addition to the fine, David McGuire forfeits the equipment used for poaching including diving gear, charts and his pickup truck. He will also be prohibited from diving for 10 years.
Michael McGuire has also been charged. His case is still before the courts.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is also pursuing charges against several individuals and a seafood company for buying the poached abalone.
David McGuire has agreed to testify against those people should the cases go to trial, Jubinville said.
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