Tsawwassen recreational crab harvesters fined

    SURREY, BC, Aug. 19 /CNW/ - Two recreational crab harvesters have been
banned from fishing for two years, their boat and trailer have been forfeited,
and both men have been fined for engaging in several illegal crab fishing
practices on the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal Causeway.
    Rohit Parkash Singh and Anil Kumar Ram pled guilty in Surrey provincial
court April 22, 2009, to three violations under the Fisheries Act: retaining
undersized Dungeness Crab; retaining female Dungeness Crab; and harvesting
over the limits of the fishing licence.
    On September 1, 2008, federal fishery officers from the Department of
Fisheries and Oceans observed a vehicle pulling a boat and trailer leaving a
well-known fishing area in Tsawwassen. When questioned, Mr. Ram and Mr. Singh,
who has a prior conviction for illegal possession of crab, admitted to
harvesting crab and other fish that day. Further inspection by the fishery
officers determined that the two men, who had a licence to harvest four crabs
per person, were in possession of 30 crabs. Of these only five were legal,
four were female, and 25 were undersized. After arresting the two men, the
fishery officers returned all of the crabs to the water.
    At their subsequent sentencing hearing, Mr. Singh was fined $2,100 and
Mr. Ram was fined $1,500. Both men had their crab fishing licences suspended
for a period of two years and Mr. Singh's boat and trailer were forfeited. The
Honourable Judge Dohm further ordered that the monies paid be directed to
DFO's Lower Fraser Resource Management for the purpose of crab study,
enhancement and management in the Pacific Region.
    To protect the stocks, crab harvesters are required to return female and
undersized crabs immediately to the water and only catch males that are large
enough to have mated at least twice. Dungeness crab must be at least 165 mm in
width, measured in a straight line through the widest part of the carapace, or
shell, from outside the points. Harvesters are advised to measure crabs using
a caliper device.

    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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