A multi-day, joint operation between Canadian and U.S. agencies resulted in the seizure of fishing gear and the release of a “large number” of crab and other fish that were caught with what the Department of Fisheries and Oceans called “illegal crab traps” in Boundary Bay waters near White Rock.
The three-day operation – Sept. 11, 12 and 15 – resulted in Canadian fishing gear being seized in U.S. waters, according to a Sept. 23 news release. In total, four commercial crab vessels were targeted by authorities, with a fifth “currently under investigation.”
As well, 316 sets of commercial trap gear – which included traps, lines, tags and other related items – were seized and will be subject to forfeiture.
Canadian crab license conditions state that “no gear shall be fished in U.S. waters; this includes all buoys, lines and traps. Canadian fishers are required to fish single traps only with a marker buoy identifying the specific vessel fishing the gear.” As well, fishers are allowed 150 traps per vessel.
During the co-ordinated effort, a commercial crab fleet was identified by DFO and transferred to the jurisdiction of U.S. officials, who escorted the fleet to retrieve its gear from U.S. water. The boats were then transferred and directed back to Crescent Beach Marina, where the illegal gear was confiscated.
Fish and crab were also returned to the water from the emptied traps.
According to the DFO, investigations are underway “to support charges being laid” in Canada, while U.S. authorities may also pursue legal action against the vessel operators.
The effort included DFO officers, Conservation and Protection fishery officers, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the National Marine Fisheries Service, Border Services – including “ship riders” that patrol the border.
“This was an example of the many effective joint enforcement initiatives between two countries,” the release notes.
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