Recreational rockfish harvesters fined total of $15,000 for overfishing near Egmont on BC’s Sunshine Coast  –

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News release

Sechelt, British Columbia — A group of recreational harvesters were found guilty in Sechelt Provincial Court on June 21, 2018 of violations of the Fisheries Act committed in the Egmont area, on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast. The Honourable Judge Steven Merrick ordered Li-Chao Tang to pay a fine of $5,000, be prohibited from recreational fishing in tidal waters for one year, plus forfeit a seized vessel, all of its contents, and all of the associated fishing gear, valued at approximately $15,000. Judge Merrick fined Cho Cheung and Kwong Tzang $3,500 each, fined Yu Tong $3,000, and ordered the same one year fishing prohibition for all three men.

In his findings Judge Merrick stated that: “Their conduct was reprehensible. A clear message must be sent to Mr. Tang and others that you must check fisheries regulations and they must be followed.” In his comments Justice Merrick also noted that the public interest in protecting the fisheries is hardly trifling, that everyone needs to understand there really is just a limited number of fish in the sea, whether it be recreational or commercial, that failure to follow fisheries regulations is serious, and as stewards of our environment it is incumbent on the Court to impose fines that reflect society’s condemnation of a serious environmental issue.

The Government of Canada is committed to safeguarding the long-term health and productivity of Canada’s fisheries resources, and the habitat that supports them, for generations to come. Fisheries and Oceans Canada has a mandate to protect and conserve marine resources and to prosecute offenders under the Fisheries Act. It ensures and promotes compliance with the Act and other laws and regulations through a combination of land, air, and sea patrols, as well as education and awareness activities. As part of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s work to end illegal activity, the Department asks the public for information on activities of this nature 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.

Additional multimedia

This photo was used as evidence in the Court case
This photo was used as evidence in the Court case

Quick facts

  • The violations of the Fisheries Act occurred May 1, 2017.
  • The violations were observed by fishery officers conducting a surveillance operation to protect vulnerable rockfish populations.
  • The group was found in possession of 15 rockfish, 11 of which were over their daily possession limits.
  • Yelloweye are one of the largest rockfish species and can live up to 115 years, reaching a maximum recorded length of 91 cm and weight of 11.3 kg. They are a highly prized species by all user groups.
  • Possession limits are calculated to maximize recreational opportunities while attempting to rebuild Yelloweye Rockfish populations which are currently a species of concern under the Species At Risk Act.
  • Given the large number of recreational fishery participants in BC, the effect of illegal fishing (fishing during closed times, in closed areas, exceed fishing limits, failing to report catch) by even a small proportion of recreational harvesters can have a significant negative impact on the fisheries resource.  Persistent illegal harvest could result in the curtailment of fishing opportunities for all recreational Rockfish harvesters, contrary to the goals of stability and predictability.
  • The whole lower mainland of Vancouver is closed to rockfish harvesting and the majority of the BC Coast is closed to the retention of Yelloweye rockfish this year.

Associated links

BC Halibut Fishery Opens Coast Wide March 1st 2018

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FN0144-RECREATIONAL – Fin Fish (Other than Salmon) – Halibut: 2018 Fishery Opening March 1 2018 and Management Measures in Effect Until March 31, 2018


Category(s):    RECREATIONAL – Fin Fish (Other than Salmon)

Fishery Notice – Fisheries and Oceans Canada Subject: FN0144-RECREATIONAL – Fin Fish (Other than Salmon) – Halibut: 2018 Fishery Opening March 1 2018 and Management Measures in Effect Until March 31, 2018 For 2018, the recreational fishery allocation of Halibut is 927,990 pounds.The following measures will be in effect as noted below.  Further updates on the fishing regulations for April 1, 2018 will be provided later in March 2018.  COAST-WIDE Open time:Effective at 00:01 hours March 1, 2018 fishing for Halibut will be opened coast-wide until further notice. Licensing:The 2017/2018 Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Licences and Conditions of Licence, remain in effect until 23:59 hours March 31, 2018. Limits and sizes:[Effective March 1, 2018 until further notice]-The maximum length for Halibut is 133cm.-The daily limit for Halibut is one (1). -The possession limit for Halibut is two (2), only one (1) of which may be over 83cm in length.-The annual limit is six (6) Halibut per licence holder, as set out on the 2017/2018 Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Licence.-All halibut retained by the licence holder shall be immediately recorded on the 2017/2018 Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Licence. The area from which each Halibut is caught and its length shall immediately be recorded on the licence. The exceptions to these openings are: Areas 121:No person shall fish for or retain Halibut, Rockfish and Lingcod in Area 121 outside the 12 nautical mile limit seaward of a line that begins at 48 degrees 34.000 minutes and 125 degrees 17.386 minutes W and continues south easterly at a bearing of 116 degrees True to a point at 48 degrees 28.327 minutes and 125 degrees 01.687 minutes W. Area 121:Closed to all finfish, year round in the waters of Swiftsure Bank, inside a line from 48 degrees 34.00 minutes N and 125 degrees 06.00 minutes W, thence to 48 degrees 34.00 minutes N and 124 degrees 54.20 minutes W, thence to 48 degrees 29.62 minutes N and 124 degrees 43.40 minutes W, thence following the International Boundary between Canada and the U.S. to 48 degrees 29.55 minutes N and 124 degrees 56.20 minutes W, thence in a straight line to the point of commencement.     Variation Orders: 2018-81 (Close Time) and 2018-82 (Quota)  Non-residents of Canada wishing to fish for and retain Halibut in Management Areas 121, 23 and 123 must purchase an electronic licence through a Canadian vendor. NOTE: Rockfish Conservations Areas (RCA’s) remain in effect – refer to the following website for descriptions:  FOR MORE INFORMATION:Contacts: Brad Beaith (South Coast) – (250)756-7190Peter Katinic (North Coast) – (250)559-8330Carole Eros (604)666-7089.   Fisheries and Oceans Canada Operations Center – FN0144Sent February 28, 2018 at 10:57Visit us on the Web at