By Alexandra Mehl
Port Alberni, BC - The owners of the commercial fishing vessel Ocean Provider were sentenced earlier this summer after pleading guilty to fishing albacore Tuna from July 22 to Aug. 15, 2022 without a valid license. A total of 2,250 tuna, equalling 31,956 pounds and amounting to $127,824, was forfeited to the Crown.
On June 28, 2023, the Port Alberni Provincial Court fined the company owners $6,000 and upheld the seizures to the crown.
“This is a serious violation of the Fisheries Act and Canada’s international fisheries obligations,” reads a press release from Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
The illegal activity was discovered when an offshore patrol vessel conducted a routine fisheries inspection of Ocean Provider, 42 nautical miles offshore of Barkley Sound while the crew was actively fishing.
“Officers determined that the vessel was not licensed to fish for tuna at that time,” reads the press release. “The vessel was escorted to port by the fishery officers where the catch was offloaded for processing and seizure.”
Illegal fishing not only threatens conservation efforts, but it can also impact management and closures, recreational fisheries, and commercial harvesters, reads the press release.
The press release goes on to say that illegal fishing can also result in negatively impacting the coastal economy and “threatens the food source for Indigenous people.”
Alexandra Mehl, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Ha-Shilth-Sa