Top News

UPDATE: P.E.I. justice minister stays fine against senior for fishing without a licence

Gordon Murray accepts a new fishing rod, delivered by Borden-Kinkora MLA Jamie Fox. An anonymous woman offered to buy Murray a new rod on Facebook after his was confiscated by a conservation officer on Tuesday. Murray is visiting from Kitchener, Ont.
Gordon Murray accepts a new fishing rod, delivered by Borden-Kinkora MLA Jamie Fox. An anonymous woman offered to buy Murray a new rod on Facebook after his was confiscated by a conservation officer on Tuesday. Murray is visiting from Kitchener, Ont. - Facebook

Anonymous donor buys Ontario man new fishing rod after social media outcry over confiscation


CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - Gordon Murray was surprised on Tuesday when a P.E.I conservation officer confiscated his fishing rod and wrote him a $275 fine.

The 86-year-old was visiting the Island from Kitchener, Ont., and says he received the fine for fishing without a licence.

Murray had been fishing for nearly 60 years without any similar infraction and assumed seniors were able to fish without a licence on the Island. The province of Ontario allows seniors over the age of 65 to fish without a licence, but P.E.I. requires seniors to obtain a free courtesy licence, as long as a yearly $13 World Conservation Fund fee is paid.

Murray, who had come to the Island to see his granddaughter perform in the Confederation Centre’s production of "Jesus Christ Superstar”, believes the treatment he received was heavy handed.

“I wasn’t thrilled,” Murray said, adding that his conversation with the officer was “civilized.”

"The guy had a couple of options. He could have said, 'Look, you go over and get a licence and report back to me that you've got a licence and you can get your rod back.' Or he could have just given me a warning."

After contacting P.E.I.’s Public Safety division, which oversees conservation officers, for comment, The Guardian was informed late Friday afternoon that the chief conservation officer had asked the court to stay the fine delivered to Mr. Murray.

“While I appreciate the need to enforce the law and preserve our natural resources, this must be a measured approach focused on the enjoyment of our outdoor spaces.”
-Jordan Brown

“I am pleased with the decision to stay the fine issued to a tourist this week,” read an e-mailed statement from P.E.I. Justice and Public Safety Minister Jordan Brown.

“While I appreciate the need to enforce the law and preserve our natural resources, this must be a measured approach focused on the enjoyment of our outdoor spaces.”

Poll: Should conservation officers have confiscated Gordon Murray's fishing rod

The story of the fine had circulated widely on Facebook on Thursday and Friday. After Borden-Kinkora MLA Jamie Fox posted about the fine, a woman in Australia donated the funds for a new fishing rod for Murray. Others have offered to pay the cost of the conservation fee. As of Friday morning, Fox said more than 35,000 people had read about Murray’s fine on social media.

On Thursday, Fox presented Murray with a brand, new fishing rod, purchased with the Australian woman’s donation.

Fox believes conservation officers should be more lenient in the future when it comes to visiting seniors.

“We're talking about an 86-year-old senior citizen who's out trying to enjoy fishing on the Island," Fox said.

"We're not talking about an individual that was poaching or doing some kind of big-time illegal activity. We're talking about a guy who was out fishing and simply didn't have a licence."

Twitter.com/stu_neatby

Recent Stories