Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

October 07, 2009 14:00 ET

Fisheries and Oceans Canada: U.S. Sport Fishing Guide Fined for Rockfish Violations

DUNCAN, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Oct. 7, 2009) - An American sport fishing guide, with Canadian landed immigrant status, pleaded guilty to six charges of illegal fishing under the Fisheries Act and the British Columbia Sport Fishing Regulations, and was fined $3,000 in Duncan provincial court September 8, 2009.

As a result of a joint undercover operation by fishery officers from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and Washington fish and game officers, Ben Trainer was charged and convicted of killing and wasting numerous rockfish caught by himself and his clients, of retaining fish caught above the daily quota, and of releasing live rockfish back into the water in a manner harmful to the fish.

Mr. Trainer was ordered by the British Columbia (B.C.) provincial court to pay a $500 fine, plus a further penalty of $2,500. Judge Adrian Brooks directed that the monies go to the Canadian Groundfish Research and Conservation Society, and that Mr. Trainer's boat, rods and other fishing equipment, seized at the time of his arrest, be returned to him.

DFO and American fishery officers worked together in an undercover operation to investigate Mr. Trainer, the operator of Step Outside Guide Services in Blaine, Washington. Recreational fishing for rockfish is limited to one fish per day to help preserve and rebuild stocks; it is estimated that between 60 and 80 fish were caught over the two-day undercover operation.

Recent monitoring and research programs have indicated that inshore rockfish stocks, especially in the Strait of Georgia, are at low levels. Sedentary, with slow growth rates, rockfish can live to be well over 100 years old and many will not reproduce until they are 10 to 15 years old. Rockfish reproduce slowly. The fish also cannot adjust to sudden changes in barometric pressure, they rarely survive after being caught and released. As a conservation measure, DFO has established 164 Rockfish Conservation Areas (RCA) along the B.C. coast where fishing for rockfish is prohibited. Many of these RCAs are located in the Strait of Georgia.

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.

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