Hants County fisherman demanding public apology from weir vandals

Carole Morris-Underhill
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The only thing a Hants County fisherman wants is a public apology and the culprits who damaged his weir will escape a criminal charge.

But, if the vandals won't own up to their crime, Darren Porter, who fishes twice a day, every day, in Bramber, says he will request the RCMP press mischief charges.

“I want a public apology. I want them to put their names in the paper and say 'I did this and I'm sorry,'” said Porter. “There's no restitution. It cost me at least $4,000, probably.”

Two men were spotted in a boat near Porter's weir June 21. Porter said they looked suspicious and began videotaping them from the shoreline. By the time he made it out to the weir, the damage was evident. The netting had been slashed.

“They had taken knives and cut the whole back of my trap out,” said Porter, who later added: “It was opened just like a can of sardines.”

Upon initial examination, there were seven large visible gashes in the netting. Porter immediately put a team of two on sewing the nets to try to salvage them for the next tide. Porter then attempted to contact the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and having no luck, contacted the RCMP and took to Facebook to ask people to keep an eye out for the boat and its occupants. He offered a $1,000 reward for the names of the vandals.

“They could’ve collected the reward themselves, theoretically,” he said, with a laugh.

His Facebook post garnered much attention, and resulted in folks lining the shore to keep an eye out as the boat left the Bramber area.

He said the outpouring of support that he witnessed that day was truly heartwarming.

“The whole community rose from Kingsport, Dalhaven, right straight through Gaspereau Valley, right straight through Windsor, right straight down the Hants Shore,” said Porter, noting the residents were adamant they would not let the vandals get away with the crime.

“To me, that's absolutely beautiful.”

Porter did obtain the names of the individuals involved, and, after several hours, caught up to them in the Gaspereau River system. Porter had the entire exchange videotaped.

Officers with the Windsor Rural RCMP detachment were unavailable to comment on the case as of press time.

“It was opened just like a can of sardines.” Darren Porter

However, Porter said the RCMP has interviewed the individuals involved in the case. He stressed he will seek to have them charged if they don't make a genuine apology.

“To me, a mischief fine is a joke,” said Porter.

 “For the people that do harm to others' property, our system is flawed in the restitution. You can't get your money back. That money is now gone,” said Porter. “Therefore, my four children have now $3,000 to $4,000 off of their plate. My workers have a commission at the end of the season that is now off of their plate. They hurt so many people.”

Included are those in the community, Porter said, as they frequently take schoolchildren and visitors down to the weir to see how it operates.

“We show them... the wonders of the Minas Basin in this weir. Many, many people come to see it. And the kids that day didn't get to experience that,” said Porter, adding the vandals have tarnished the experience.

“So if somebody breaks into a lady's house — I'm just using that as an example — they take her security. They just didn't take my damn fish. They took more than that. They took the comfort of my employees... They took away the peace of it.”

An additional eight cuts in the netting was discovered in the three tides that followed the incident. While the weir is patched for the remainder of the season, Porter said he won't be able to fully fix it until next year.

“We have to tear it all out and put new netting in,” he said.

He hopes the culprits will feel the guilt of their actions and come forward within a week and issue a public apology in this paper.

“They purposely did what they did. They put a lot of thought into it. They got caught, and I hope they never do it again,” said Porter.

“In my opinion, shame punishment would be far better than a misdemeanour.”

But more than that, Porter hopes the men learn from this experience.

“Everybody can change. Maybe this will teach them. This is a lesson. Maybe one of them will change.”

Organizations: RCMP, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Geographic location: Hants County, Bramber, Kingsport Gaspereau Valley Gaspereau River Nova Scotia Hants Shore Windsor Minas Basin

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Recent comments

  • bob
    July 02, 2014 - 20:53

    Is it even legal to put a weir across a river. Someone jump in here and advise. Driving a tractor in a river?? Not sure if that. Flys with the department of Enviroment. If fishing with a weir is legal it looks like a awesome way to fish. 100 percent catch rate

    • Darren porter
      July 03, 2014 - 19:21

      Weir fishing in the Minas basin dates back 100rds of years, there was one for every km of the entire system 100 years ago, so thousands exsisted, now there is only 10 licenses left I believe only two left on the kings and hants shores, almost almost part of our heritage. As yes it is legal.

  • you serious?
    July 01, 2014 - 17:24

    Does anyone actually think this "matt and corey" actually did it? How would this be considered a "public apology"? Their faces need to be exposed and this should be done verbally. I suspect this "matt and corey" is just a random on the internet trolling. I really hope you find these guys and put their faces up all over the internet. That is the only reparation.

    • Darren porter
      July 01, 2014 - 21:40

      The two men that did this two my gear where named Matt and Cory. I tracked them down in the river with my boat, and got a video taped confession form them. So it is unlikely this us not them making this apoligee because I've told no one there last or first names. I want them to apologize full names , to this paper. That will take a great deal of innor streath to do. We will see what they choose.

  • RA
    July 01, 2014 - 14:19

    Darren, you were right not to call the police in hopes that they might give you some justice. This surely would have been too much work for them, especially where this happened on the water. I called the RCMP twice, once on a property theft and once when somebody nearly killed my wife. In both instances they did very little to nothing. I like yourself had to do my own investigation and I got my property back, with my wife’s case this dangerous man is still out there. Maybe these young men will offer to help you out a bit in free labour costs, it seems to me that they did make an apology the best way they knew how. Guys, offer to help Darren out a bit in the line of work, it will make better men of you all. Maybe this act will turn out to be a positive for these young men. Good work Darren.

  • Timothy Pitts
    June 30, 2014 - 17:21

    Very honourable of you to take such a soft way with them Darren and I admire you for that! Myself, I would want charges pressed witb a criminal record being the outcome, let them see how a life is truely messed up when theytry to go to a Red Sox or Bruins game or just want to cross the border and they find out they are not allowed because they cut some nets. That is the real shame.

  • David Bannerman
    June 30, 2014 - 15:26

    This is a tragedy followed by such a wonderful story and I truly admire Darren Porters attitude as he navigates a journey to the end of this story. What an opportunity for these two young men to do the right thing and to send a great message to the entire community along the water. Also..another great story from the Hants Journal. I've been in the Windsor area for a long time and I've never seen such great news coverage on local stories as consistently as I have over the past year. More great work by the Hants Journal staff.

  • Darren porter
    June 30, 2014 - 12:55

    Blush, Catherine! Thank you

    • Matt and corey
      June 30, 2014 - 20:20

      Im not sure how to put things in this paper other then right in the comment section. But i do want to apologize for us cutting ur net it was a regrettable mistake that we wish we could take back. We truly wasn't thinking at the time, and i can assure u nothing like this will ever happen again so on behalf of my friend we are very sorry.

    • Darren porter
      July 01, 2014 - 08:54

      Matt and Corey It pleases me greatly that you took the first step to publicly apologizing with out a " but" or a " I did this because" or any other excuses for your actions! For I believe true remorse comes with no excuses! So to answer how you you do the public apology. (You can submit a letter to the editor, The best email address for you two to contact would be editor@hantsjournal.ca.) and please make this two myself and my workers, as well as the community of the Hants shore.

  • Catherine Cummins
    June 30, 2014 - 11:59

    My husband and I were on the wharf in Parsborro NS last July when a Coast Guard employee told us that if we wanted to understand fishing in the Bay of Fundy, we should go to Bramber Beach, meet Darren Porter and see the weir in action. We did so and were absolutely amazed. The scope of Darren's "fantasy world" is incredible, the energy he generates is unbelievable and the community spirit he fosters is heartwarming. This world needs more outstanding individuals like Darren with the courage to make their dream a reality.