Richmond-based fishery officers and the Coast Guard’s hovercraft from Sea Island took part in a “highly successful” five-day operation to crack down on illegal fishing.
The joint operation spanned five days in the Boundary Bay area – just off the coast of White Rock – with 337 illegally-set commercial crab traps seized and a large number of crab and fish returned to the water.
The operation was a joint effort between Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and the Coast Guard.
Officials are now in the process of investigating the identity of the seized traps, with charges likely to follow.
This is the first time the Sea Island hovercraft has been used for this kind of joint operation.
Traps that have been abandoned or lost and continue to fish and kill crab or finfish indefinitely are considered “ghost gear,” as the traps still capture fish due to the escape mechanisms being manipulated so that they do not properly function.
All live fish or invertebrates entering become bait themselves over time. These traps can also become buried in the mud over time and so are more difficult or impossible to retrieve.
The illegal traps are disposed of by destruction or, if there is value, they are sold through government auction.
DFO asks the public to get in touch if they suspect potentially illegal activities, or any 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 DFO.ORR-ONS.MPO@dfo-mpo.gc.ca.