Commercial crab harvester fined $3,500 for disturbing marine mammals and failing to comply with conditions of crab fishing licence

    DUNCAN, BC, Aug. 14 /CNW/ - As a result of an investigation carried out
by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), a Sidney, B.C. resident has been fined
$3,500 for two counts of contravening the Fisheries Act.
    Mr. Xi Chang Gao was convicted on April 8, 2008, in Duncan Provincial
Court, of disturbing marine mammals, contrary to section 78 of the Fisheries
Act and Regulations, and failing to comply with the conditions of his
commercial crab fishing licence. $3,000 of the fine was applied for disturbing
marine mammals; the remaining $500 was for the crab fishing licence violation.
    On August 25, 2007, a DFO fishery officer received a complaint that the
vessel Vien Duong was observed travelling at full speed through a pod of
killer whales (Orcas), in Boundary Passage near South Pender Island, B.C.,
where the Southern resident killer whale population is listed as endangered
under the Species at Risk Act.
    After interviewing several witnesses and reviewing a video of the
incident, a fishery officer charged Mr. Gao, owner of the Vien Duong. The
video indicated that the Vien Duong appeared to collide, or very nearly
collide, with a killer whale while continuing to maneuver around other members
of the pod at full speed and in close proximity.
    Further, upon review of the vessel's logbook, it was determined that in
August 2007, Mr. Gao failed to maintain an up-to-date logbook, contrary to the
conditions of his commercial crab fishing licence.

    DFO acts to end illegal fishing activity. As part of this work, the
Department is asking the general 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.

For further information:

For further information: Carrie Mishima, Communications Advisor,
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Region, (604) 666-0392

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