The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) conducted a blitz of the Southern Gulf Islands in early July, and responded to two on-water emergencies which saw one injured person evacuated by Air Ambulance.
On July 9th and 10th, DFO officers were patrolling areas from Gabriola Island to Race Rocks, enforcing provisions under the Fisheries Act and its regulations.
The operation involved five vessels, one land-based platform and an aircraft.
Officers patrolled fishery closures, Interim Sanctuary Zones (ISZs) for the sustainability of Southern Resident killer whales, rockfish conservation areas, and beaches closed to bivalve harvesting.
During the blitz, DFO officers assisted in a Mayday distress call of a vessel taking on water on Pender Island, as well as assisted in getting an Air Ambulance to evacuate an injured person from a beach on Galiano Island.
The DFO could not provide any information on whether the injuries to the person were serious and whether they have recovered.
The DFO considered the blitz a success and reported that officers checked 76 vessels and 187 anglers.
In total, these violations occurred:
- retention of wild coho;
- retention of undersized lingcod;
- fishing inside RCA closures;
- transiting through Southern Resident Killer Whale ISZs;
- over limits of crab and rockfish;
- using barbed hooks while salmon fishing;
- not having descending devices;
- unmarked recreational prawn traps, and
- failing to produce fishing licenses
Some fines are more serious than others and may result in further investigation and Court appearances.
The DFO asks anyone with information to call the toll-free violation reporting line at 1-800-465-4336 or via email at DFO.ORR-ONS.MPO@dfo-mpo.gc.ca.