Commercial fish harvester convicted of fishing in a closed area; Vessel's electronic monitoring system aids in conviction

    PORT ALBERNI, BC, Dec. 6 /CNW/ - Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)
announced today that a commercial lingcod harvester has been fined $12,500
after pleading guilty to fishing for lingcod in a closed area.
    On September 18, 2005, fishery officers encountered the commercial
fishing vessel The Office fishing approximately 2.0 nautical miles inside the
Swiftsure closed area on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. This area has
been closed since the early 1990s to both recreational angling and commercial
hook and line fishing. The master of the vessel, Adrian Slavko Kern, had
caught 454 lingcod which were seized by the fishery officers and subsequently
sold for a value of $2,788.80.
    During the investigation, it was determined the vessel was carrying an
Electronic Monitoring System (EMS) which recorded data and video of the entire
fishing trip. This data showed the vessel had also fished the previous two
days inside the closed area and that all the fish onboard had been caught in
the closed area. The Crown was able to lay additional charges for September
16, and 17, 2005, because of the EMS data.
    Recently, in Port Alberni provincial court, Mr. Kern appeared and pled
guilty to fishing in a closed area for three days. Mr. Kern was fined $2,500
and ordered to pay an additional $10,000 dollars to lingcod research. He was
given one year to pay the fine and the sanction.
    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: Kirsten Ruecker, Communications Advisor,
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Region, (604) 666-2872

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