A Lake Erie commercial fishing boat captain has been fined $5,000 and a Wheatley commercial fishing company has been fined $2,500 for a commercial fishing violation.

Adelino Pombinha, of Leamington, captain of the commercial fishing vessel “Ethan P,” and a commercial fishing licence holder company, 1903350 Ontario Inc., both pleaded guilty to permitting fish suitable for human consumption to spoil.

The court heard that on March 6, 2017, Pombinha set and left numerous gill nets in the Essex County waters of Lake Erie.

He returned to the area on March 9 to retrieve the nets and the fish he caught.

Pombinha, however, left approximately 795 metres of gill net in the water and never returned to retrieve it.

The abandoned net remained in the water for 65 days until it was retrieved by the ministry’s Lake Erie Management Unit on May 9.

The abandoned net contained approximately 880 kilograms of several species of fish including walleye, yellow perch, lake sturgeon, white bass and white perch, in various stages of decomposition.

Conservation officers with the ministry’s Southern Marine Enforcement Unit in Wheatley, with the assistance of an officer from the Northern Marine Enforcement Unit in Parry Sound, conducted the investigation.

Justice of the Peace Elizabeth Neilson heard the case in the Ontario Court of Justice in Windsor on Aug. 14.

The ministry monitors the commercial and sport fishing industry to protect Lake Erie’s fishery resources, which are managed through an international partnership with bordering U.S. Great Lakes states.

To report a natural resources violation, call the MNRF TIPS line at 1-877-847-7667 toll-free any time or contact your local ministry office during regular business hours at 519-825-4684. You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).