Former fisheries officer pens insightful read

Author and retired fisheries officer Randy Nelson spent the better part of 35 years chasing and, more often than not, catching poachers

Author and retired fisheries officer Randy Nelson spent the better part of 35 years chasing and, more often than not, catching poachers with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).

Over the course of his career he also dealt with a good number of polluters and politicians. In his book, Poachers, Polluters and Politics – A Fisheries Officer’s Career, Nelson has chronicled some of his experiences dealing with angry, axe-wielding, rock-throwing, shotgun-blasting fishermen, evasive, uncooperative corporate cronies, and, as he so eloquently puts it, a number of political “brown-nosers and bobble-heads,” not to mention the occasional charging grizzly.

There are some 94 stories in the book that provide a unique insight into the lives of fisheries officers such as Nelson and the communities in which they served. Many of the stories deal with specific incidents. Others deal with long-term issues that continue, even to this day, to affect both the DFO and the fish stocks in B.C. Firm but fair and always passionate about his job, Nelson describes in unbiased detail the many different people and situations with which he was confronted. He pulls no punches when talking about his dealings with First Nations, private corporations and government bureaucrats, as well as groups and individuals within DFO. He readily admits to having challenged the status quo throughout his career.

In reading the book, one also gets the distinct impression that Nelson spent a considerable amount of time coming up with new and innovative ways to catch bad guys. It is equally clear Nelson was able to earn the respect and admiration of his fellow officers, as well as the people he dealt with in the various communities where he was posted – including, in some instances, the same people he had charged with offences.

Poachers, Polluters and Politics – A Fisheries Officer’s Career is an interesting, entertaining and enlightening read. However, having met Nelson and spoken with him a number of times, I find the man even more interesting than the book. Modest and unassuming, Nelson is also the most decorated fisheries officer in the history of B.C. Not only that, all the profits from the sales of his book go to The Fallen Officer’s Fund for the families of fish and wildlife officers killed in the line of duty.

(According to statistics, a fisheries or wildlife officer in North America is eight-times more likely to be killed on the job than a police officer.)

What impresses me the most about Nelson is that he never fails to call things the way he sees them.

“Corporate greed and the push for profit will often trump concerns for the environment. Today, most companies understand the public’s awareness of the environment and will spend millions to convince the public that they are good environmental stewards. Any time a large company initiates an ad campaign, you can almost be certain they have recently been caught on the wrong side of the law, or are trying to avert a bad reputation. Companies that take their environmental responsibilities seriously rarely need to advertise.”

Nelson also notes how budget cuts and enforcement downsizing have left B.C. open to fish poachers with little risk of getting caught.

Randy Nelson will be at Hidden Gems Bookstore at 331 Alexander St. NE on Saturday, Dec. 6, between 11 a.m. an 3 p.m., to chat with people and sign copies of his book. If prompted, I’m sure he will also be willing to share a few stories.

 

Just Posted

Update: Driver lone occupant of truck that crashed Saturday

Vehicle flipped over on 50th Street SW, driver injured, alcohol not ruled out as a factor

Vernon second-degree murder suspect found not criminally responsible

Angelo Gabriel Monfort’s matter will be put to the British Columbia Review Board

Salmon Arm RCMP nab suspected tire thief

Owner of vehicle confirms to officer he definitely did not give permission to suspect to take tires

Man threatens spouse with knife

Salmon Arm RCMP say the threats will lead to serious charges

Salmon Arm students chop their locks for a good cause

King’s Christian School collects hair donations for cancer patients

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Reena Virk’s mother has died

Both of Virk’s parents became activists against bullying in wake of daughters’ death

Over 800 cars hit the streets in Penticton for Beach Cruise

Largest Peach City Beach Cruise event to-date to take place in Penticton

B.C. announces $75M to help friends, family care for seniors at home

Funding will go towards respite care and adult day programs

Timely tide attracts another pod of orcas to Victoria

The pod left the harbour about 30 minutes later

Canada won’t ‘play politics’ on U.S. migrant children policy

The U.S. government is under fire over its ”zero tolerance” policy

Capitals coach resigns after Stanley Cup win

Barry Trotz announced his resignation on Monday

B.C. pledges $550 million for Indigenous housing

Premier John Horgan says province moving into on-reserve projects

Okanagan residents getting locked up for B.C. SPCA

SPCA events taking place around the Okanagan raises funds for abused and homeless animals

Most Read