For such a laid-back activity, fishing can carry some harsh penalties. And you never know when the cops are watching, so you better not deliberately flout the rules.
One serial-fishing scofflaw learned that the hard way after netting himself a 20-day jail sentence for a bucketful of violations.
Last October, a conservation officer spotted 71-year-old Aziz Malik fishing in Bowmanville Creek, Ont. and breaking a bunch of fishing and wildlife laws in the process.
Malik hooked a salmon in the body and tossed a rainbow trout in some bushes before driving off. The officer stopped Malik, who lied about his behaviour, and, as a search showed, had caught one more trout than legally allowed.
That’s four fishing crimes with a five-day sentence for each.
Sound steep? Well, Malik apparently doesn’t take the rules too seriously. He didn’t actually bother to show up in court, where the judge heard that Malik has a history of fishing violations. And he still got off light, as each of those four offences carries a maximum penalty of $25,000 or a year in prison, or both.
Specifically, his offences fall under two different pieces of legislation: the Ontario Fishery Regulations and the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.
The former imposes limits and quotas on how much you can catch and it prohibits anglers from keeping a fish pierced or hooked “in any part of the body other than the mouth.”
The Wildlife Conservation Act forbids making false statements to a conservation officer and forbids abandonment of a fish whose flesh is suitable for human consumption.
Although convicted in absentia, Malik didn’t prove too slippery for the authorities. Malik’s son told the Toronto Star that his dad is currently in jail and due out at the end of the month.