The Ontario government is safeguarding the province’s lake trout population from over-fishing by ensuring that commercial fishers accurately report their catches.
Inland Sea Products was convicted of failing to accurately report all the fish caught under the authority of a commercial fishing licence and fined $100,000.
Richard Leeder and Jesse Leeder, boat captains who were employed by Inland Sea Products, were convicted of the same offence in a separately heard case. Richard Leeder was fined $30,000 and prohibited from participating in the commercial fishery for 20 years. Jesse Leeder was fined $5,000 and prohibited from participating in the commercial fishery for five years.
Conservation officers began an investigation following an audit of daily catch reports submitted by commercial fishers from Lake Huron. The investigation determined that Richard Leeder and Jesse Leeder, while fishing under the authority of a licence granted to Inland Sea Products, reached the annual lake trout quota in May 2017. They failed to accurately report their lake trout catches, while continuing to catch lake trout throughout the year.
Justice of the Peace Thomas Stinson heard the case against Inland Sea Products on November 28, 2022, in the Ontario Court of Justice, Goderich. Justice of the Peace Ralph Cotter heard the case against Richard Leeder and Jesse Leeder on February 12, 2021, also in the Ontario Court of Justice, Goderich.
To report a natural resource problem or provide information about an unsolved case, members of the public can call the ministry TIPS line toll free at 1-877-847-7667. You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS. For more information about unsolved cases, please visit ontario.ca/mnrftips.