Four anglers caught $4,500 in fines after losing more than 80 pounds of halibut and crab on July 20 when the Conservation Officer Service (COS) found the illegal and processed haul just outside of Terrace.
Zane Testawich, acting sergeant for the COS wants hunters, fishers and anglers to know the rules and regulations before they set out, adding numerous tickets and violations have been issued this season.
“If people are going to come from out of province to our area, they need to #knowbeforeyougo,” he told Black Press Media.
“I want people to be aware that if they’re going to come to the Terrace area, or the Prince Rupert area, [they need] to be up to date on the regs. They need to expect to be checked if they’re travelling through to back home,” he said, including on the water and on the highway.
Fishers and anglers are responsible for knowing and understanding the rules and regulations, even if they are from out of province, and if they do not understand or can not find the regs, Testawich said they need to reach out to COS or a Fisheries officer to clarification can be obtained.
“Not being able to identify limits or species or forgetting that you can’t transport fish in a certain way is not an excuse,” the officer said.
In this particular incident, officers were conducting routine angling compliance and found numerous violations. Four Alberta men were found with ling cod, nine halibut and four bags of crab. All of which had been cleaned and processed, then placed in a freezer on the box of a truck. All the seized catch, except the crab, will be donated to local food banks, the COS officer said.
“At this time of year, with river closures and ocean limitations, we are out there seven days a week patrolling and protecting our environment on the highways and the waters,” he said.
Unlawful catching, processing, and incorrect transportation are more prolific than not, the COS acting sergeant said. It is important that anglers need to stay within the regulations for the areas where they are fishing.
“If you’re going to angle in the province of B.C., whether it be freshwater or tidal, you must adhere to the regulations in place. If you have any questions about them, you have to contact somebody to get clarification.”
Even with anglers, fishers or hunters being from out of province, the fines and violations can affect offenders in the future. Most have 30 days to dispute a ticket or pay, if nothing is done, then fishing/hunting licenses can be revoked and not reissued, as well fines can be placed in collections and may affect driver’s licence renewals.
K-J Millar | Editor and Multimedia Journalist
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