Fishing guide nets $11,100 in fines

    DUNCAN, BC, Feb. 24 /CNW/ - A Port Renfrew fishing guide pled guilty to
three separate charges of illegal fishing under the British Columbia Sport
Fishing Regulations and was fined $11,100 in Duncan Provincial Court November
7, 2008.
    As a result of an undercover operation by officers from Fisheries and
Oceans Canada, Mr. Russell John Hicks was charged and convicted of unlawfully
fishing during a closed time (on July 13 and September 13, 2007) at Swiftsure
Bank near Port Renfrew, B.C. He was also charged for illegally fishing for
salmon with barbed hooks on July 16, 2008, again in the vicinity of the
Swiftsure Bank.
    Mr. Hicks, who had previously been convicted for fishing during a closed
time in the same area as well as for fishing for salmon with prohibited gear,
was ordered by the Court to pay three fines. Judge Josiah Wood handed down two
fines of $2,500 for each of the two counts of fishing during the closed time
in the Swiftsure Bank area in 2007, of which $4,500 was directed to the San
Juan Enhancement Society to enhance chinook and coho salmon. The third fine,
for $6,100, was for fishing for salmon with prohibited gear. These monies were
directed to the Sooke Salmon Enhancement Society to support their efforts in
rebuilding local salmon stocks.
    An unmarked fisheries vessel and undercover officers investigating
unlawful fishing activities near Swiftsure Bank were both used to gather
evidence that led to the convictions. DFO fishery officers observed activities
on the vessel, Swiftsure Fishing Charters, that included fishing and catching
salmon on two separate occasions in the area of Swiftsure Bank that was
closed. Closures help provide sanctuaries and support the conservation and
rebuilding of stocks that are under fishing pressure. Enforcement is conducted
by regular patrols of these waters in rigid hull inflatable boats, unmarked
vessels, and DFO patrol aircraft, all of which utilize the latest technology
in radar and GPS navigational equipment.

    DFO acts to end illegal fishing activity. As part of this work, the
Department asks 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: Leri Davies, Strategic Media Relations Advisor,
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Region, (604) 666-8675

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