SECHELT, BC, March 18, 2021 /CNW/ – On February 23, 2021, Niu Shu and Chuck Fung pleaded guilty in Sechelt Provincial Court to several significant recreational rockfish and lingcod fishing violations near Egmont, B.C. The Honourable Justice Patrick Steinberg prohibited Mr. Shu and Mr. Fung from fishing for a year, and ordered each recreational fisher to pay a fine of $5,000, as well as forfeit all fishing gear and fish. Mr. Shu was also ordered to forfeit his sailboat.
On July 6, 2020, fishery officers responded to information from the public about a group of recreational anglers on a sailboat fishing in the area of the Skookumchuck Narrows. Officers from the Powell River Conservation and Protection Detachment approached the fishers once the vessel docked, and conducted an inspection onboard. The anglers were found to have caught and retained fish over and above the conditions of their licences, and that several of the fish were undersized.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada has a mandate to protect and conserve marine resources and to prosecute offenders under the Fisheries Act. It ensures and promotes compliance with the Act and other laws and regulations through a combination of land, air, and sea patrols, as well as education and awareness activities.
- As part of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s work to end illegal activity, the Department asks the public for information on activities that are in contravention with the Fisheries Act and regulations. Anyone with information can call the toll-free violation reporting line at 1-800-465-4336, or email the details to [email protected].
- Each year approximately 300,000 tidal water recreational fishing licences are issued in British Columbia. As in all fisheries, repetitive, excessive harvesting poses a significant risk to the sustainability of Canada’s aquatic resources.
- Possession and daily limits are essential tools in helping Fisheries and Oceans Canada fulfil its mandate and are carefully set by the Department. The limit for a licenced angler is one rockfish, and one lingcod, per day. Lingcod also have a minimum size limit of 65 centimetres.
- In this incident, fishery officers seized a total of 27 rockfish and 7 undersize lingcod from the two individuals. They also seized the sailboat and all fishing gear as evidence.
- There are more than 34 species of rockfish in B.C. waters. They are a very long-lived sedentary species with an average life expectancy of 75 years. Long-lived and slow to grow and reproduce, rockfish stay close to home habitats, which makes them extra sensitive to fishing pressure and some rockfish species are of conservation concern.
- The significant fines and forfeiture of the vessel, fishing gear and illegal catch underscores the seriousness of violating fishing rules and regulations under Canada’s Fisheries Act intended to protect and preserve at-risk fish populations.
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SOURCE Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Region