In Powell River provincial court, the vessel master of the commercial crab vessel BC Ocean Dragon was sentenced on May 18 and received a $40,000 fine and forfeiture of his fishing gear. In addition, Van Bay To cannot commercially fish for eight months.
“He plead guilty to four counts for hauling traps more than once per calendar week during the softshell period, failing to ensure the electronic monitoring (EM) system accurately monitored the vessel 24 hours per day, failure to scan the RFID tags on the traps, and logbook violations,” said Matt Conley, fishery officer and field supervisor with Fisheries and Oceans Canada in Powell River.
Conley said Powell River fishery officers investigated BC Ocean Dragon from January to March of 2018 for suspicious fishing behaviour and numerous violations of conditions of its Area G commercial crab licence.
Conley said From March 29 to 31 of that year, Powell River fishery officers, with the assistance of the Canadian Coast Guard vessel M. Charles, seized 155 of the BC Ocean Dragon’s crab traps around Savary and Hernando islands. The seized traps and associated gear were valued at approximately $25,000 and were ordered forfeited to the crown. Conley said 737 crabs were released live back to the sea during the seizure.
“This is from a 2018 file that the public was very interested and concerned about,” added Conley.