This case involved a fishing vessel fishing with an otter trawl. Although a "fish finder" did not indicated many fish in the area and the first four trawls caught few fish, on the fifth trawl a very large number of fish were caught. An attempt was made to winch the net aboard, but it was discovered that the vessel could not take any more fish, the equipment could not complete the hoist, there was only about 12 inches of freeboard at the stern and large waves were posing a safety hazard and the net was beginning to tear. Consequently the net was released allowing the fish in the net to escape.
Upon being charged under s. 33 of the Fishery (General) Regulations with returning fish to the water without authorization to do so, the Court acquitted for the following reasons:
1) Based upon the definition of "fishing" set out in the case law, the fish had not yet been caught because they had not been removed from the water;
2) With respect to a few fish that were knocked overboard while releasing the net, given the circumstances the captain exercised due diligence; and
3) With respect to the failure to record a discard reported to him by a fisheries officer, but not seen by him, the accused was found to have failed to exercise due diligence.