Hefty fines for Delta-area anglers who illegally killed and ate an endangered white sturgeon

    DELTA, BC, Aug. 19 /CNW/ - Five recreational anglers were convicted and
received a total of $21,500 in fines in Surrey Provincial Court February 2,
2009, for committing offences in violation of the Fisheries Act.
    Han Ly and Raymond Ouyang pled guilty to molesting and injuring sturgeon,
and possession of a dead sturgeon, and were fined a total of $7,500 each. Mr.
Ly was additionally fined $500 for fishing without a licence. David Boriboune
pled guilty to fishing without a licence and to molesting and injuring
sturgeon and was fined $3,500. Hung Nguyen pled guilty to molesting and
injuring sturgeon and was fined $3,000. Charlie Tran pled guilty to fishing
without a licence and was fined $500. The men were also banned from fishing
for one year and forfeited their fishing gear. Of the total $21,500 in fines,
$14,000 was directed by the Court to the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund for
fisheries management and habitat conservation and protection, specifically for
the conservation and protection of the sturgeon in the Fraser River and waters
associated with the Fraser River.
    In August of 2008, fishery officers from Fisheries and Oceans Canada
(DFO) responded to a late night complaint that a sturgeon had been caught and
retained by a group of recreational anglers fishing under the Alex Fraser
Bridge in Delta, B.C. When the fishery officers investigated, they observed
the group actively fishing with barbed hooks. The officers also discovered
that a white sturgeon had been caught, illegally retained, killed, roasted
over a camp fire and then subsequently eaten by members of the group. In
addition, this group was found to have been responsible for molesting and
injuring several other sturgeon over a two-day period. Digital images taken by
the group were seized and entered as evidence at the sentencing hearing.
    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 (COSEWIC), and DFO has implemented fishing restrictions to protect
them. The use of barbed hooks is prohibited because it can lead to sturgeon
mortality and decline of the stock. Barbless hooks minimize the injury
sustained by the fish during capture and release. Fishing for sturgeon in the
lower Fraser River is limited to a catch and release fishery only. The
largest, longest-lived freshwater fish species in North America, white
sturgeon have been known to live for over 100 years and can reach a maximum
length of approximately six metres.

    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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