Fishing Guide Nets $11,100 in Fines
February 24, 2009
Duncan, B.C. – A Port Renfrew fishing guide pled guilty to three separate charges of illegal fishing under the British Columbia Sport Fishing Regulations and was fined $11,100 in Duncan Provincial Court November 7, 2008.
As a result of an undercover operation by officers from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Mr. Russell John Hicks was charged and convicted of unlawfully fishing during a closed time (on July 13 and September 13, 2007) at Swiftsure Bank near Port Renfrew, B.C. He was also charged for illegally fishing for salmon with barbed hooks on July 16, 2008, again in the vicinity of the Swiftsure Bank.
Mr. Hicks, who had previously been convicted for fishing during a closed time in the same area as well as for fishing for salmon with prohibited gear, was ordered by the Court to pay three fines. Judge Josiah Wood handed down two fines of $2,500 for each of the two counts of fishing during the closed time in the Swiftsure Bank area in 2007, of which $4,500 was directed to the San Juan Enhancement Society to enhance chinook and coho salmon. The third fine, for $6,100, was for fishing for salmon with prohibited gear. These monies were directed to the Sooke Salmon Enhancement Society to support their efforts in rebuilding local salmon stocks.
An unmarked fisheries vessel and undercover officers investigating unlawful fishing activities near Swiftsure Bank were both used to gather evidence that led to the convictions. DFO fishery officers observed activities on the vessel, Swiftsure Fishing Charters, that included fishing and catching salmon on two separate occasions in the area of Swiftsure Bank that was closed. Closures help provide sanctuaries and support the conservation and rebuilding of stocks that are under fishing pressure. Enforcement is conducted by regular patrols of these waters in rigid hull inflatable boats, unmarked vessels, and DFO patrol aircraft, all of which utilize the latest technology in radar and GPS navigational equipment.
DFO acts to end illegal fishing activity. As part of this work, the Department asks the general 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.
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