Fishery officers hope fines handed to two women who pleaded guilty last week to catching undersized dungeness crabs in White Rock will serve as a warning to a growing number who are breaking the law.
In Surrey Provincial Court on Aug. 27, Chang Shin Park was fined $200 for a May 30 incident in which two people were charged, and Thi Tuyet Lien Doan was fined $450 after a woman with her two adult sons were caught June 13 with undersized crabs and more crabs than the allowed daily limit.
Fishery officer field supervisor Kirk McCrae told Peace Arch News the fines are a reminder to the public of the need to be aware of regulations that guide crab fishing.
Ensuring the minimum size is met “gives (the crabs) at least one or two chances to reproduce before they’re caught,” he said.
McCrae noted the number of recreational crabbers has increased dramatically in recent years – fishery officers regularly see as many as 20 each day between the White Rock pier and Peace Arch Park, compared to two or three that was the norm just a few years ago.
“It’s been a huge explosion,” he said.
McCrae believes the jump goes hand-in-hand with an increase in violations, and he suspects the market price of crab is a driving factor.
Dungeness crab must measure at least 165 mm at the widest breadth of the shell to be legally kept; red rock must measure 115 mm.
The catch must be only males, no more than four may be taken in one day and those harvesting must possess a tidal licence.