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Abalone Poachers Sentenced in Prince Rupert

4044 Views 17 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  Cirrostratus

Record penalties ordered for abalone poachers

VICTORIA -- The stiffest penalties for abalone poaching in B.C. history were handed down in Prince Rupert on Wednesday to three men caught with 11,000 abalone in February, 2006.

Each poacher received a conditional sentence with house arrest, a new form of punishment for robbing B.C. waters of this threatened species.

Michael McNeill faces a 12-month conditional sentence with six months house arrest, a five-year scuba-diving prohibition and $20,000 in fines. He also forfeits his truck, boat and equipment used during the crime, valued at $143,000. His younger brother, Daniel McNeill, and Randall Graff each received four-month conditional sentences, with three months of house arrest, two-year diving bans, $10,000 fines, and 80 hours of community work involving presentations on abalone conservation. They also forfeit $4,000 worth of equipment.

The men were caught with the largest abalone heist ever seized by federal fisheries officers.

The creatures, hidden under tarp, weighed down the back of Michael McNeill's Ford F-150 pickup truck. The men were apprehended leaving Port Edward, near Prince Rupert, on their way to Vancouver to sell the dying abalone.

Last month, the three men pleaded guilty to crimes under both the Fisheries Act and Canada's four-year-old Species at Risk Act or SARA. They are the first abalone poachers convicted under SARA. With the combined penalties, the three men could have received $750,000 fines.

The McNeill brothers were also facing a maximum seven years in jail because of previous fisheries violations. Mr. Graff faced a maximum five-year jail term.

Northern abalone is considered a threatened species in Canada

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1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Wow, talk about a message being sent.
Seasons,limits and closures are put in place for a reason but there is always a few pinheads that think they can do whatever they want regardless of how it effects any threatened species. :naughty

Good ..... I'm glad some judge finally had the testicular fortitude to finally do something that will make others take notice that poaching will not be tollerated. Now if only we can get the same judgements on the Fraser and in other areas.

It would be nice to see this kind on enforcement all along our coast.........
Good start... but since these were second offences of some sort, I wonder whether an automatic maximum penalty should apply for repeat offenders... ???
I am glad to see some more considerable fines/punishment being handed out as well.

As a quick side note......has anyone eaten abalone? I have never tried it but just curious what is like?
I am afraid we are only see the tip of the iceberg. Illegal fishing of rockfish are murdering our stocks of rockfish. Keeping undersize and female crabs is emptying estuaries of crabs. Too few eyes watching too much coast. Make a point of reporting all suspicious activity.
bigjay said:
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO......we have a wize guy.... :thumbup:
haha :yummy: so is it a type of rare delicasy or something?
Posesses mythical labito powers.............. :happy:............ :thumbup:
Few months a go I was watching Japanese TV Show Iron Chef (similar to Iron Chef America). Secret ingredient was first class Abalone, over $500.00 per pound ??? :yummy:
I know this is a little late but great job by DFO. I like to see this kind of ending! :thumbup:
i didnt know people ate this stuff. but i knew they used the shells for jewelry. i think we need a judge down here willing to make examples of our offenders and maybe smarten up the others.
The last time I had abalone was nearly 30 years ago; local abalone used to be served in Vancouver restaurants at the time. What I remember was that it was very tasty; if you like oysters then you would love abalone.
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