Today, the DFO made the following announcement:
From January 23 to 27, 2023, lower mainland fishery officers with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) from the Langley, Steveston, Chilliwack and whale detachments, working with their Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) colleagues from Sea Island Base, conducted an enforcement operation in the waters of Boundary Bay, near Whiterock, B.C. The operation utilized the CCG Hovercraft Siyay as a platform, coordinating with up to 3 Conservation and Protection patrol vessels to combat suspected illegal fishing.
The joint operation spanned 5 days and 27 strings with a total of 270 crab traps suspected to have been set illegally in this area were seized. A large number of crab and other fish were returned to the water from all traps located and seized, including 788 Dungeness crab and 119 red rock crab. Fishery officers will now attempt to identify seized traps and gear and investigate to try to identify the perpetrators. Of the traps seized, 154 of the total 270 traps were sealed shut (which represents 58%). Charges may follow.
This was a highly successful example of a joint DFO/CCG enforcement initiative. While fishery officers and the CCG operated within their respective mandates while on the water, they shared operational knowledge to ensure the success of the sweep and gained a deeper understanding of each other’s roles and responsibilities. This is the second time that a CCG hovercraft from the Sea Island Base is being utilized for this kind of joint operation.
As part of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s ongoing work to promote compliance and counter illegal fishing activity, the Department asks the public for information on any suspicious or potentially illegal activities, or any suspected contravention of the Fisheries Act and regulations. Anyone with information can call the toll-free violation reporting line at 1-800-465-4336 or via email at [email protected].
Recent Illegal Crabbing History
While the scale of this operation impresses, illegal crabbing frequently makes the news. In February of 2021, 337 crab taps were also pulled from Boundary Bay under a joint operation just like this year.
It wasn’t long ago, that Laird Goddyn was fined $7,500 and hit with a 5 year ban for illegal crabbing in June of 2021.
Just last week on January 25th, 2023, Robert Reinhardt of Fishes Wish Charters was interviewed by the Gulf Island Driftwood and appeared on CBC Radio to discuss crab going missing in Fulford Harbour.
Updated Crabbing Floats as of April 1, 2023
DFO noted in todays news that, “Gear that is not in compliance with the regulations under Canada’s Fisheries Act can include: lack of proper floats identifying the location of gear; lack of proper markings or tags on floats and crab traps; fishing more than the allotted amount of gear; fishing traps without escape mechanisms or rot cord to enable escape mechanisms should the gear ever become lost, and fishing in closed or prohibited areas (i.e. U.S waters). Illegal traps are disposed of.
New regulations for float come into play April 1, 2023:
“For April 1, 2023: Floats attached to crab traps must be bullet shaped cylindrical floats a minimum of 27cm in length and 12cm in diameter. Typically these are foam floats which can be found at most tackle retailers.”
If you suspect a fisheries violation, Contact the DFO at “Observe Record Report” (ORR):
- Email: [email protected]
- Call toll free: 1-800-465-4336
- In greater Vancouver call: 604-607-4186
Report all poachers and polluters
While you’re out fishing, if you see any wildlife or environmental offences in non-marine areas, call British Columbia’s “Report All Poachers and Polluters” (RAPP) line at 1-877-952-RAPP (7277).
For more information on crab harvesting, gear and more visit the DFO regulations, and this article below…