DFO takes advantage of low tide to check on shellfish harvesters

Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) officers were busy in the Sechelt area last week, keeping an eye on the behaviour of shellfish and crab harvesters.

DFO’s Powell River office is now staffed by three full-time fisheries officers, whose responsibilities include patrolling the lower Sunshine Coast, often working with officers from Nanaimo and Squamish.

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DFO officer Ben Rahier said very low tides last week made it an opportune time for patrols along local beaches. He said compliance was good among people harvesting clams in Porpoise Bay, although there were several violations for taking more than the daily limit and one person was found harvesting cockles in an area that had been closed because of contamination.

DFO officers also visited the Davis Bay wharf, where crab fishing often triggers complaints from the public, but over the course of several inspections they found no violations.

Local anglers have also been adjusting to changes in the rules for chinook fishing this season. DFO imposed a no-retention rule for chinook, which was put in place to protect the Fraser River chinook run and a key food source for southern resident killer whales.

Rahier said there have been a few serious instances of non-compliance, including one involving someone fishing near the southern tip of Texada Island, but overall people have been following the rules, which allow for catch and release fishing.

Anglers in the northern Strait of Georgia will be able to keep chinook again starting July 15, but the restrictions remain in place for the southern Strait until July 31.

If you spot a potential violation of the sport fishing regulations you can report it via DFO’s toll free, Observe, Record, Report line at 1-800-465-4336.

Copyright © Powell River Peak

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