Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) says it seized tens of thousands of pounds of tuna from a Canadian commercial fishing vessel that was illegally netting fish off Vancouver Island.
The fishing occurred between July 22 and Aug. 15, 2022, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, near Bamfield, about 42 nautical miles offshore of Barkley Sound.
The DFO says the Canadian Coast Guard vessel Tanu spotted the commercial fishing vessel, the Ocean Provider, while the Tanu was doing a routine patrol of the area.
Officers then boarded the Ocean Provider and determined that the vessel was not licenced to fish for tuna during that time.
The coast guard then escorted the Ocean Provider back to shore where thousands of tuna were offloaded and seized.
The DFO says a total of 2,250 tuna were seized from the vessel, totalling about 31,956 pounds.
The total value of the fish was $127,824, according to Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
On June 28, 2023, the B.C. company that owned the Ocean Provider pled guilty to fishing for albacore tuna without a valid licence at the Port Alberni Provincial Court.
The company was handed a $6,000 fine and a judge upheld the DFO’s earlier seizure of the fish.
“Excess and illegal harvesting threatens conservation,” said the DFO in a release Wednesday.
“It also could result in management changes or closures, diminish the significant economic benefit from the fishery to coastal communities, recreational fisheries, commercial harvesters, and threaten the food source for Indigenous people.”
Anyone who spots someone disobeying Canada’s Fisheries Act is asked to call the DFO Pacific region’s toll-free violation reporting line at 1-800-465-4336 or email [email protected].