A man caught trying to dump his illegally caught rockfish near Nanaimo has been fined $6,000, according to Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
Last summer, fishery officers on a routine patrol on the west coast of Gabriola Island spotted a man fishing in the Northumberland Channel Rockfish Conservation Area.
Officers watched as the man started throwing fish into the water when they began to boat over to him, states a DFO news release Wednesday.
Once they were beside the man’s vessel, it became clear he had recently killed fish onboard his ship.
When questioned, the man denied fishing, disposing, or even acknowledging that he was ever inside the bounds of the conservation area.
Earlier in April of this year, Colin Wood was found guilty of several Fisheries Act violations, including:
- Obstructing a fishery officer by throwing fish overboard
- Making false or misleading statements to a fishery officer
- Over-possessing Chinook Salmon
As a result, Wood was charged $6,000 for the offences, and his fishing gear from that day was forfeited as evidence. Additionally, he is prohibited from engaging in various fishing activities for a year.
Rockfish Conservation Areas are designated areas considered ecologically sensitive, and while the DFO says recreational and some commercial fishing within these boundaries is permitted, certain methods may be prohibited. It notes inshore rockfish populations are at very low levels.
“Our Rockfish Conservation strategy is designed to alleviate further rockfish population decline through catch restrictions, fishery monitoring, stock assessment programs, and Rockfish Conservation Areas (RCAs) are established throughout the B.C. coast. Within RCAs, inshore rockfish are protected from all mortality associated with recreational and commercial fisheries,” reads the RCA page on the DFO website.
People can consult this guide for a complete list of rockfish that includes photos. Those thinking about heading out to catch some fish should remember that fishing licenses need to be renewed annually and can be done so online.
RELATED: B.C. salmon farm closure decision was necessary, says DFO amid court challenges