Montreal

Quebec MNA risks steep fine for sea urchin fishing

A Quebec politician charged with illegally fishing sea urchins says he is going to fight any fines imposed on him.

MNA Georges Mamelonet may have to shell out as much as $100,000

Sea urchins are harvested for their roe, considered a delicacy. (Canadian Press)

A Quebec politician charged with illegally fishing sea urchins says he is going to fight any fines imposed on him.

Liberal MNA Georges Mamelonet admits he has fished for the spiny ocean delicacy without a required license.

But he said he won't plead guilty to any charges imposed under the federal fisheries law.

"I catch about 50 pounds per year, I warn [the Department of] Fisheries and Oceans, and they fine me. I will go make my point in court, that's all," said Mamelonet, who serves as parliamentary assistant to the Quebec Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

Mamelonet said he used to have a sea urchin license, but it ran out in 2000, and he hasn't been able to get it renewed.

If convicted of the charges, Mamelonet faces fines of up to $100,000.

Until 2010, Mamelonet owned a seafood restaurant in Percé, in the Gaspé — the riding he now represents at the national assembly.

He is scheduled to appear in court April 2.