Have you ever been out on the ocean with a lobster fisher? I have, and let me tell you; skilled or not, it ain't easy to see a v-notch lobster. (V-notching is a voluntarily practice amongst commercial lobster harvesters where one in four egg-bearing female lobsters is given a v-shaped cut in a section of the tail fan. The lobster is then returned to the water to breed. It is illegal to keep v-notched lobster.)
From yesterday's Telegram;
Three fishermen were recently convicted of keeping illegal lobster during the 2008 harvest. Hedley Butler of Bonavista was convicted on Dec. 10 for having undersize and v-notched lobster in his holding crates while fishing last June. He was fined $1,500 and is not allowed to fish for lobster during the first 10 days of the 2009 season. Meanwhile, Darrin Cooper, also of Bonavista, received a $1,000 fine and is prohibited from fishing lobster for the first five days of the 2009 lobster fishery for possession of undersize lobster. Also, in November, Daniel Baker was convicted of possession of v-notched lobster. Baker received a $1,200 fine and a one day suspension at the start of the 2009 lobster season. He also forfeited his catch. The conviction came from an inspection by DFO fishery officers at the wharf in Harbour Breton, which revealed 11 v-notched female lobsters in Baker’s catch. The lobsters were seized as evidence, photographed and released back into the water.
I know way too many good, honest fisher folk who have been "caught" this way, none of them are criminals. Just look at the picture above and see how, when your out on the ocean in the usually frigid waters in April or May, trying to earn your living as you keep from freezing to death, you could be expected to take note of each and every v-notch in your pot?
Give it a rest DFO. Make allowances for a small percentage. Too many are facing unnecessary hassles from a "voluntary" practice.
Know how to tell a male lobster from a female? Watch the video here http://www.howcast.com/videos/14477-CMN-Video-How-To-Identify-Male-and-Female-Lobsters and learn.