Fraser River commercial shrimp fish harvesters fined $2,000 for retaining by-catch

    STEVESTON, BC, June 3 /CNW/ - A commercial shrimp fish harvester and his
wife pled guilty and were each fined $1,000 in Richmond Provincial Court April
23, 2009, on a charge of illegal harvesting practices contrary to the
Fisheries Act.
    Hoa Van Dang, owner of the commercial shrimp fishing vessel "Twilight"
and his wife, Thi Lieu Vo, were found to have retained by-catch contrary to
the conditions of their shrimp trawl licence. On January 30, 2009, their boat
was at anchor mid-channel in the Fraser River when Fishery Officers, alerted
to potentially unusual activity by the large numbers of sea birds circling the
vessel, boarded the ship for a compliance check.
    Dang and Vo were found sorting their catch on deck. Despite the fact that
the couple had completed fishing four hours previously, it was found that
there were large amounts of dead and dying by-catch still mixed with the
shrimp catch. A large cooler containing 678 eel pouts (an eel-like
bottom-dwelling fish) packed in crushed ice was also discovered.
    Commercially harvested fish should be immediately sorted and, as a
condition of the shrimp trawl licence, by-catch must immediately be returned
to the water in the least harmful way. This was not done by Dang and Vo who
were on the Fraser River at the time, a significant distance from the natural
habitat for the eel pouts.
    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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