Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

December 10, 2009 15:16 ET

Fisheries and Oceans Canada: Three Recreational Sturgeon Anglers Fined

DELTA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Dec. 10, 2009) - Three recreational anglers were convicted and fined a total of $5,900 in Surrey Provincial Court for committing illegal activities involving white sturgeon in violation of the Fisheries Act. A fourth member of the group is currently awaiting trial for the same incident.

Thang Minh Nguyen, and Van Khoi Le appeared before the Honourable Judge Michael Hicks, March 2, 2009, and pled guilty to fishing with a barbed hook, contrary to the terms of their recreational fishing licences. Mr. Nguyen was fined $600 and ordered to forfeit his fishing gear. Mr. Le was fined $300, and both men were prohibited from fishing for one year.

On May 14, 2009, a third member of the group, Binh Dinh Nguyen, appeared before the Honourable Judge Kenneth Ball and pled guilty to unlawfully possessing a dead white sturgeon, and to fishing with barbed hooks. Mr. B.D. Nguyen was ordered to forfeit his fishing gear and was fined a total of $5,000. The Court ordered that $4,000 of the fines levied against Mr. Nguyen be directed 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.

The four men involved in the incident were initially observed engaging in illegal activities September 19, 2009, during a regular evening patrol by fishery officers.

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. In August 2006, the Government of Canada added white sturgeon populations from the Kootenay, Nechako, Upper Columbia, and Upper Fraser rivers to Schedule 1, the list of species protected under the Species at Risk Act.

White sturgeon populations in the lower and middle sections of the Fraser River were not added to the list; however, all white sturgeon populations, whether listed or not listed, are carefully managed and white sturgeon is still listed as endangered under COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada). DFO has implemented fishing restrictions which include a prohibition on the use of barbed hooks to minimize the injury sustained by the fish during capture and release. Fishing for sturgeon in the lower Fraser River is limited to a barbless hook catch and release fishery only.

DFO acts to end illegal fishing activities. 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.

Contact Information

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Region
    Leri Davies
    Strategic Media Relations Advisor
    (604) 612-6837