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3 men handed 1-year ban, fines for illegal fishing in B.C.


Three men have been banned from fishing for one year, says a government agency, after being found guilty of illegal fishing along B.C.’s coast.

This week, Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced the court decision of over-fishing for rockfish and lingcod against Da Teng Zhou, Zhao Liang Chen and Ngai Pan Chau.

The three were facing charges under the Fisheries Act of purchasing, selling or possessing illegally caught fish, obstructing a peace officer and giving false statements.

According to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the charges stem from August 2021, following a public tip near Powell River, with judge Lisa Mrozinski delivering her sentence on Nov. 16.

The three were found guilty, banned from fishing for one year, ordered to pay a total of $17,500 in combined fines and to surrender around $1,000 in fishing rods, reels and lures.

A court decision wasn’t available online, but the case had multiple court appearances prior to last month’s decision.

“An investigation was initiated on the morning of August 10, 2021, when a concerned member of the public called the Observe, Record, Report line about a group of recreational anglers who appeared to be retaining fish over their daily limit, north of Lund near Divers Rock Regional District Park,” Fisheries and Oceans Canada said in its release.

“Fishery officers from the Powell River conservation and protection detachment responded to the call and approached the fishers on the beach to conduct an inspection.”

The federal agency says the anglers then split up, running in different directions while trying to discard their catch before being detained.

“Following an investigation, fishery officers seized a total of nine rockfish and one undersized lingcod as evidence and charges were subsequently laid under the Fisheries Act, including for obstruction,” said Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

“Failure to comply with fishery officers carrying out their duties, obstructing their enquiries, and attempting to hide evidence, can often lead to criminal charges and significant fines for individuals and companies.”

Fisheries and Oceans Canada says the limit for a licensed angler is one rockfish and one lingcod per day. Lingcod also have a minimum size limit of 65 cm.

“There are more than 34 species of rockfish in B.C. waters,” said Fisheries and Oceans Canada. “They are a very long-lived sedentary species with an average life expectancy of 75 years.

“Long-lived and slow to grow and reproduce, rockfish stay close to home habitats, which makes them extra sensitive to fishing pressure and some rockfish species are of conservation concern.”

More information about rockfish and lingcod, such as conservation areas, is available on the Government of Canada’s website.

The website Fishnbc.com also has information about rockfish and lingcod.

Source: Global News