Officials looking into Fisheries Act violations in salmon video

MARK HUME

The Globe and Mail,  

A video that shows commercial fishermen kicking salmon off a boat’s deck or throwing apparently lifeless fish overboard has triggered a federal investigation into possible violations of the Fisheries Act.

Mel Kotyk, North Coast director for the department of Fisheries and Oceans, said fines could range from a $50 ticket to a court imposed penalty of more than $1-million.

“I can’t speak to it other than what I saw on the video. The video isn’t clear. You see the fish going through the scuppers on the boat. … I guess in order to understand how egregious it is you’d have to see, you know, is this a common practice? Is this something they are doing all day, or is this a one off?”

A fishing industry spokesman said the vast majority of commercial fishermen obey the regulations and if the few shown in the video did not, they should be punished as an example.

But Aaron Hill, who shot the Watershed Watch video on British Columbia’s central coast, says he thinks the fishermen have already paid a stiff price, and he would rather the video triggered a wide debate about fishing practices than lead to fines for a few fishermen.

“Those crews are already taking a lot of heat from people in their own fleet and the public for what’s shown in the video. I think they’ve suffered enough,” said Mr. Hill.

 

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