Convictions and fines in two white sturgeon cases

    VANCOUVER, Feb. 12 /CNW/ - Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) announced
today that two recreational fishers have been convicted and fined for fishing
for white sturgeon with a barbed hook. In two separate incidents, Mr. Andrei
Vorozhbit of Surrey and Mr. Mihail Siklodi of Port Coquitlam were each fined
$250 in Port Coquitlam provincial court after pleading guilty to failing to
comply with the conditions of their tidal water sport fishing licences. The
Court also ordered the forfeiture of their fishing gear, worth approximately
$350 in each case, and prohibited them from fishing anywhere in British
Columbia for one year.
    On September 29, 2007, fishery officers observed Mr. Vorozhbit fishing
with sturgeon fishing gear in the tidal portion of the Fraser River near Pitt
Meadows. Upon further inspection, it was found that he was fishing with a
barbed hook. On the same day, Mr. Siklodi was also observed fishing in the
tidal portion of the Fraser River near Pitt Meadows, and found to be fishing
with sturgeon fishing gear equipped with a barbed hook.
    The lower Fraser River population of white sturgeon has been identified
as an endangered species by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife
in Canada, and DFO has implemented fishing restrictions to protect them. The
use of barbed hooks is prohibited because it can lead to the mortality of
sturgeon and the decline of the stock. Barbless hooks minimize the injury
sustained by the fish through capture and ease in the release of the sturgeon.
Fishing for sturgeon in the lower Fraser River is limited to a catch and
release fishery. The white sturgeon is the largest, longest-lived freshwater
fish species in North America. It can reach a maximum length of over
six metres and live for over 100 years.

    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 & Oceans Canada, Pacific Region, (604) 666-2872

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