A judge-ordered fine for Fisheries Act violations will pump $28,500 into fisheries conservation, education and stewardship in Haida Gwaii and Vancouver Island.
In November 2018, in Port Hardy Provincial Court, Judge Brian Hutcheson found fishing vessel master Ricky Sadler guilty of two violations of the Fisheries Act dating back to 2015 and 2016.
Justice Hutcheson ordered Sadler to pay a total fine of $30,000 with $19,000 going toward fisheries conservation, education and stewardship in the Haida Gwaii area, and $9,500 for similar West Coast Vancouver Island projects.
According to a news release from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the sentence relates to: failing to provide assistance to a dock-side observer in Port Hardy by dumping Lingcod overboard prior to validation; setting gear and fishing in the closed Estevan Point Rockfish Conservation area and additionally failing to submit log books seven days after landing.
The Government of Canada is committed to safeguarding the long-term health and productivity of Canada’s fisheries resources, and the habitat that supports them, for generations to come, the release says. 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 of this nature or any contravention of the Fisheries Act and regulations. Anyone with information can call the toll-free violation reporting line at 1-800-465-4336.
• Electronic monitoring of commercial vessels via cameras, gear sensors, and a Global Positioning System is in place to ensure compliance with conditions of licence and regulations governing the groundfish fishery.
• One of the conditions of allowing electronic monitoring is that fishers must retain all rockfish catch on board the vessel and the entire catch must be validated upon docking by the designated dockside observer. Fishers are individually accountable for all of their catch.
• Accurate, timely and independently-verified catch information supports effective fisheries management and the long-term sustainability of the groundfish resource, encourages responsible fishing practices, and supports Canada’s international obligations.
• Many species of B.C.’s rockfish are at historically low levels of abundance. Sedentary, with slow growth rates, rockfish can live to well over 100 years and many will not reproduce until aged 10 to 15 years. As a conservation measure, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has established 164 Rockfish Conservation Areas along the B.C. coast where fishing for rockfish is prohibited.