An enforcement blitz this month by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans resulted in a slew of warning tickets being issued and the start of more serious investigations into the actions of dozens of local anglers.
During the blitz July 9 and 10 between Gabriola Island and Race Rocks near Victoria, officers checked 76 vessels and 187 anglers and issued warnings and tickets for a variety of offences — ranging from retention of wild coho or undersized lingcod to fishing and transiting through restricted zones, taking more than the limit of crab and rockfish, using barbed hooks for salmon and not having fishing licences.
The department said investigations will be conducted into the more serious infractions, which could result in fines and court appearances.
The two-day sweep focused on current fishery closures for the protection of salmon and rockfish stocks, as well as patrolling areas designated as interim sanctuary zones for the sustainability of southern resident killer whales, rockfish conservation areas and beaches closed to bivalve harvest.
The operation involved five vessels, a land-based platform and a dedicated aircraft from Fisheries’ aerial surveillance and enforcement program.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is asking the public to report suspicious or potentially illegal activity at 1-800-465-4336.