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I was out enjoying the opening day of salmon fishing with a friend, we were in his boat and we jumped to a few different bars, we hooked and landed 5 chinook, only one was under the size limit as we thought, we use a stanley tape measure and while holding the fish in the air we measured it, it was 77 cm on the dot. So we had a 3 pack of conservation officers approach the boat, well they didnt throw out and bouys and decided to tie off to his boat, well there jet did a good number of damage to the side of the boat, and then the newbie officer reaches into the boat and grabs the chinook and throws it into his boat, the female officer starts to give dirty looks and the old officer says licences, so after looking over the licences they said " we will be back" the took the fish to the shore and took some measuerments and pictures, when they came back they said the fish was over the 77cm it was 80 cm, we we asked for them to show us the refused to, they were being unreasonable, so they handed my friend a 150 dollar fine and left him with over 500 dollars in damage to his boat. So my question is if the fish is held in the air and measured the girth wont affect the measurement but..... when you lay the fish down on its side and you push the girth out from the otherside u get a large length. as the officers were leaving the female officer had the nerve to hold up the fish in the air and yell to all the other boats beside us " let this be a lesson to you all" what lesson the fish was 77cm. we are both upset that we were treated like criminals after we attend river cleanups and are a part of the semiamoo fish and game club and help put back to our rivers and streams. Dont worry we will see you in court on sept 7th, and we wont be the only ones attending !!!!!
 

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Sounds to me that the female officer was on a power trip. Are they paying the damages to your friend's boat ? Please keep us advised on what happens.
 

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I heard about the fine etc, but nothing about the boat damage. That is crappy as buddy loves his boat so much he makes you clean it with him after a day of fishing.

The situation seems odd I would much rather see the river stay closed than this silly slot limit idea.
 

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Hopefully your friend gets compensated for the damage to his boat. Not that hopeful, about the fine that was issued for the slot limit violation. The COs have probably taken pics, etc., so unless you took pics of the fish next to a tape measure it will be your word against their word. Personally in a situation like that I would carry a measuring tape that tailor's use. That way you can lay it right against the fish for measurments.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I agree a tailor tape is the way to go, there should be a tape measure handed out to each person at the time they buy there salmon stamp if there is going to be a slot limit. My buddy is an honest fisherman and i feel he was wrongfully acused, and unfairly treated.
 

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If you run a tailor's tape along a fish it measures more than the actual length because the tape follows the curve of the body. To measure length accurately you need some sort of caliper like they use to measure your foot. I would fight this all the way on that basis alone if the DFO used a soft tape whether they had pics or not. The fatter the fish the longer it will appear to be when measured this way. The thinner, the shorter. It's simple mathematics.
 

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If anyone were to go to court over a 1cm or 3 cm violation, believe me, the case would not be heard.........Ortho
 

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Ortho, are you saying these fellas will not have the opportunity? If they don't then something in the system seems out of wack. On the other hand, for the officials to proceed with a fine they must feel they have a case??

Also I was reading some post on some forum the other day and the fella made some very good arguments for not having a slot size. I understand why the DFO had implemented it but can folks think of other reasons why this reg might not do what it sets out to do?
 

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Im with Pat on this one...keep the river closed...this slot size retention is ridiculous! This is going to cause alot of trouble on the river this summer,its already bad enough and now you throw this into the mix...
 

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I have to agree with you on that one .......... just another bone to throw out to the wolves for them to chew on and create a fuss over. Leave it closed till it's open without the size issue ....... it's only going to create even more hassles and problems.
 

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after a go around with "younger" DFO officers in Bella coola, we made a measuring board that has a end to put the nose against and the lenght from there to the end of the board is the legal size. The DFO guys were trying to claim a jack chinook we had was larger than the 65cm size limit. Using a true straight line the fish was 1cm under but the 2 DFO guys thought it was 3cm over using their way to measure.
The 77cm size is in a straight line and make sure you have a way of proving it when you get to court.
 

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What I find interesting is that they (DFO) took the fish away, measured it, and came back with their conclusion, yet they wouldn't show you their evidence against you? Why not just measure the fish right in front of you? Sounds "fishy" to me. Pardon the pun. I suspect that could be in your favor, as you should have the right to see the evidence against you, particularly if you measured the fish yourself and got a different result. They should be able to produce that later, but...how can they (and you) be sure they measured the same fish? Why did they have to take the fish away then come back? As for how to measure the fish - does DFO publish a way to do it properly? If not - then there could be ways of easily getting differing results (as rln stated) and I'd push to say you did your "due diligence" to comply. You did what a reasonable person would do under the circumstances - you measured the fish (fork length as described in the guidelines) to ensure it wasn't over sized.
 

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if you follow the curve of the body you will come up with a longer mesurement, than having the tape flat.
I think its better to just keep a fish that is well below the "maximum" allowable size !.......my 2c
 

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I agree with you jim...the old saying, " When in doubt throw it out" in this case ,"On the nose ,back it goes". Then there will be no confusion as to the correct measurement of the fish...I think D.F.O wanted to make a statement on this one and unfortunately you fellas were the scape goats.
 

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Now I remember the other reason arguing against this slot. Cammer, on the forum that seems to be used by a lot of VI folks states that "the chance of getting a fish in the imposed slot limit of 77cm and below is a very very low chance. Therefore a lot of the fish played out will be put back with a lesser chance of survival and we will be doing more damage to already threatened stocks."
 

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1 or 2 cent. is a cash grab or a poor training exercise for the dfo. by the time you are sure you are just under the slot limit or just over the fish has been stressed to much. by using the 62 cent. size it is easy to tell quickly that the fish is legal.how many dead fish are going back in. if retention is allowed, it should be any size and then keep it to the limit of how many. we know the dfo is not using exact science so they should be cutting some slack out there. i have seen over the years alot of fish dragged up on shore and then booted back in, not likely to survive.open the fishery for fishing or keep it closed if it is that delicate that a fewcents. make such a big difference. if they measure the way i think they do then i went from five six to six foot, not well looked after six pack!!!
 

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Although I am sympathetic with the events as reported, measuring a fish in the air is no way to measure. The fish has to be on a flat surface and fully extended to be most accurate. There is no due diligence argument..the fish according to the conservation officers ( I suspect they were Federal fisheries officers but no matter) was over the slot limit. You have to prove otherwise if they provide a convincing argument that they measured correctly. Why they took the fish to shore to measure is beyond me or why they didn't show you the correct measurement is puzzling but its basically irrelevant. A cop doesn't have to show you the radar gun reading when he clocks you speeding..its his word and expertise that wins the day (usually). You can argue till the cows come home that you had a legal fish but if 3 fish cops say otherwise, you won't win. The only possibility is for the judge to view the officers' conduct as 'high handed' and give you an absolute discharge but it remains to be seen I guess as to what their rationale was for taking the fish to shore or why they refused to show you the measurement (if they did..remember its their word against yours that counts).

As far as the boat damage goes, don't even bring it up, if you attend court for the fish violation. Its irrelevant and the judge will say so. He has no authority to 'charge' the fisheries department or anyone else for damages. If you wish to pursue damages, you'll have to go to small claims court I think. In that eventuality you better get names of the officers and in particular the boat handler.

With all due respect to fishortho, courts these days are pretty cognizant of conservation concerns and if the Crown presents the argument that there is a very valid reason for implementing a maximum size, the judge will buy it, even if its just a cm or two or three.

The boat damage not withstanding, I'd chalk up the length violation to experience and let it go..but its not my call. However, although a long time ago now, I was a federal fisheries officer for 18 years so I do know how the system works.
 

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If they did not show their measurement and just took the fish away, then it is only heresay that the fish was not within the slot.You have a witness to the fact that you measured "it" and fell within the limit If they bring a photo it's not conclusive that it was in fact your fish. Could have been anyones!If they bring a witness to verify, then they would have had to show you on the spot as to why they took the fish and issued a ticket.They have to prove the case,....... not you! All you know is you measured and kept a fish (you have a witness to that effect)and two persons came and took it from you without proving anything. So in fact they stole it from you.Easy! Case dismissed!

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Provincial court judges don't subscribe to conspiracy theories hotrod and I doubt very much that the officers would have replaced the fellow's fish with another, just to charge him. That doesn't make sense and no judge would buy it. I am still perplexed as to why the officers took the fish to shore to measure and wouldn't share the measurement, if asked. I always showed the accused the measurement, without them asking so its a no brainer for me. That behaviour is puzzling and will have to be explained, IF it comes up.

Without questioning steelie 99's version of the 'facts', I found out a long long time ago that there are always 2 versions of the 'facts'..one that the accused offers in his/her defense and one the officer (s) offer as proof of guilt. Its up to the judge to sort through the evidence to determine which version of the 'facts' is most credible and who is the most credible person. I do offer this tidbit though. If steelie did tell the officers how the fish was measured, ie in the air, its virtually guaranteed the measurement will be found to be faulty. Measuring in the air is not a proper way to get an exact measurement...it has to be on a flat surface, with the fish in a natural position. A word of caution here too. If the officers were told the fish was measured in the air, don't change your story in court and say it was measured on a flat surface. Officers do take notes of events and conversations. They may not have taken notes at the time but are permitted to make notes later (up to 24 hours later).

I'd be more concerned about the boat damage myself and chalk the length violation up to experience. There are only two ways that I see pursuing the boat damage. One is to write the Regional Director General (if they were federal officers which I suspect they were) and explain what happened NICELY. You are guaranteed to get a response from the RDG so don't just write a district DFO office where the letter might get ignored. The 'quality' of the response you get will be proportional to how civil the letter is though. You will have to show some proof of the damage (photos), some detail as to how the damage occurred, as well as a written estimate of the repair costs from a repair shop. This is a shot in the dark that the RDG may believe you and offer some sort of restitution. The other way is to go to small claims court. You'll have to know the name and other details of the officer driving the boat because he would be the one you have to sue for damages. You can count on it though that DFO will have a lawyer representing the officer in court, so it won't just be you versus him.

As frustrating as the experience has been for you steelie (I'd be pissed too for the boat damage), just be aware that you will be facing a Crown prosecutor, whether you continue to fight the ticket and/or the boat damage. It can be a bit intimidating if you are representing yourself in court and I doubt you want to hire a lawyer (unless you feel super strongly that you have been wronged, where expense is not an issue). But anyways, best of luck.
 
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