Anglers forfeit boat engines, lose fishing licences after overfishing incident on Vancouver Island
VICTORIA -- Three anglers who were charged with fishing violations for overfishing on Vancouver Island in 2019 have pleaded guilty to their charges and have forfeited their boat engines, fishing licences and other property.
The three anglers were reported to the Nootka Sound RCMP on Sept. 11, 2019, for signs of overfishing in the Gold River area, according to RCMP. When Mounties found the individuals, only one of the three people had a valid fishing licence. Moreover, the group were in possession of dozens of fish, including salmon, which were not properly recorded, police say.
Mounties seized the group's 30-foot fishing vessel and all fishing equipment onboard at the time. Officers also confiscated 26 Chinook salmon, 18 rock fish filets, eight ling cod filets and 10 bags of salmon roe that weighed approximately 24 kilograms.
The three individuals, none of whom are from B.C., pleaded guilty to a range of unspecified charges in Campbell River Provincial Court on Feb. 24, 2021.
After pleading guilty, the group were fined and had to forfeit all of their fishing equipment used at the time, including two engines that were used on their vessel. They were also ordered to pay the transport and storage costs for the seized boat, according to RCMP.
Meanwhile, the trio are now banned from possessing a fishing licence anywhere in Canada, Mounties say.
"Officers from the West Coast Vancouver Island DFO Detachment, the North Vancouver Island DFO Detachment and the Nootka Sound RCMP all worked seamlessly together on this investigation," said Nootka Sound RCMP Detachment Commander Cpl. Kim Rutherford in a release Friday.
"The monetary fines and fishing prohibitions issued were significant, and should serve as a warning to those who come to our beautiful area, blatantly disregard the rules, and feel they can take as many fish as possible," she said.
The fishing violations and penalties are some of the heftiest that industry workers have ever seen, police say.
"Fishery officer Greg Askey, field supervisor with the Campbell River DFO Detachment, stated that this was 'the most significant sport fish violation he had seen in over 20 years,'" said RCMP on Friday.