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Powell River-Sunshine Coast fishery officers conduct enforcement blitz

Project finds poor compliance, violations related to rockfish/lingcod, sea cucumbers and starfish
Three individuals were recently found in possession of 787 sea cucumbers in the Saltery Bay area. The possession limit is 24.

Fishery officers in the Powell River-Sunshine Coast region have been busy enforcing fisheries regulations, recommending charges and issuing violation tickets.

Fishery officer and field supervisor Matthew Conley said local officers conducted a blitz/project with the assistance of the Nanaimo detachment from April 30 to May 2 and encountered very poor compliance rates on the Sunshine Coast.

“In total, $14,000 in tickets were issued and six appearance notices were issued to attend court,” said Conley. “This project was in conjunction with the May 1 rockfish/lingcod season opening.”

Conley said on April 29, a group of three individuals were found in possession of 787 sea cucumbers in Saltery Bay. The possession limit for sea cucumbers is 24.

“These individuals had numerous prior convictions for fish and wildlife offenses including prior sea cucumber offenses,” said Conley. “Charges are being recommended to crown counsel.”

Conley said with the aid of a fishery officer in a helicopter on April 30, numerous vessels were found fishing inside several rockfish conservation areas on the Sunshine Coast.

“Fishery officers on patrol vessels interdicted and issued violation tickets for fishing in closed areas, totalling $1,725,” added Conley. “Yelloweye rockfish and lingcod were seized during these inspections.”

Also on April 30, fishery officers observed an individual removing and throwing hundreds of starfish off of the beach into the woods in Jervis Inlet, according to Conley. He said an investigation was initiated and charges are being recommended to crown counsel.

On April 30, fishery officers found two occupants fishing out of a small zodiac who were found to be in possession of numerous rockfish and undersize lingcod prior to the May 1 opening.

“The vessel, fish and gear were seized, and two individuals are facing charges,” said Conley.

Two more vessels were found in possession of numerous rockfish on April 30 during the closed time prior to the opening on May 1, according to Conley. Tickets were issued, totalling more than $2,500.

On May 2, an inspection was conducted of a large group of individuals harvesting bivalve shellfish in Saltery Bay, said Conley.

“Gross over-limits of oysters and clams were encountered, resulting in nearly $10,000 in tickets issued to nine different individuals,” said Conley.

He said a reminder for the public is if anyone witnesses a fisheries violation, they can contact the observe, record, and report hotline at 1.800.465.4336.