The conviction of a crab harvester in Port Hardy is an attempt to end illegal fishing. (Photo: Stock File/FIS)
Crab harvester fined for violating Fisheries Act
Friday, April 27, 2012, 22:40 (GMT + 9)
A commercial crab harvester from Surrey, British Columbia, was fined CAD 5,500 (USD 5,594) in Port Hardy Provincial Court after being found guilty of numerous violations of the Fisheries Act.
Phong Thanh Do, who appeared in court on 16 February 2012, was charged with three counts of failing to comply with the conditions of his commercial fishing license. He was found guilty of 22 violations including: Using commercial crab traps that lacked the required identification tags, using treated rot cord on his traps, and using two traps with undersized escape rings.
Do was ordered to pay CAD 250 (USD 254) for each identified violation, and a quantity of his fishing gear was forfeited.
Do was charged following an incident on 9 November 2011, when Fisheries and Oceans Canada fishery officers patrolling the Area “G” commercial crab fishery in Port Elizabeth, off northern Vancouver Island, inspected the commercial crab vessel King Crag VRN 30035, which was being operated by Do. The officers identified numerous violations of the conditions of Do’s commercial licence and seized 10 crab traps as evidence.
The conviction of Do marks the first successful prosecution of a trap tag violation.
To protect crab stocks, harvesters are required to return female and undersized dungeness crabs immediately to the water. Harvesters can only catch males that are large enough to have mated at least twice (at least 165 mm in width, measured in a straight line through the widest part of the shell, from outside the points), and are advised to measure crabs using a caliper device.
Regulations under the Fisheries Act also require untreated cotton cord to be used on crab traps to ensure that if the trap is lost, the section secured by the cord will rot, allowing captive crab to escape and preventing the lost trap from continuing to fish.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada acts to end illegal fishing activities. As part of this work, the department asks the general public for information on activities of this nature or any contravention of the Fisheries Act and Regulations.