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Fraser remains off-limits, but signs of sockeye poaching abound

“Illegal sales are rampant right now,” said Jesse Zeman, executive director of the BC Wildlife Federation.

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Poaching and illegal sales of sockeye salmon along the Fraser River has been a problem for decades, and conservation groups have reported that despite the Fraser sockeye salmon being almost completely closed to commercial fishing, this year’s We are seeing red flags that indicate illegal trade is taking place.

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Social media posts and Craigslist ads promoting the sale of sockeye salmon, images of 4-by-4-foot tote containers in Steveston Harbor, and photographs of dead bodies left on the back roads of the Fraser River. And so on, reports of spoiled and discarded fish are now being seen. to the BC Wildlife Federation.

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The federation’s executive director, Jesse Ziemann, said of the situation this year, “certainly” it feels like things are getting worse.

British Columbia, which has commercial sockeye fisheries in the Skeena River and Berkeley Sound, has seen greater profits, but “the reality is that (advertising) suddenly there was a sockeye catch in the Lower Mainland.” It increased at the same time (Fraser) system, so that’s the first thing,” says Zeman.

He added that the federation is aware that the Fisheries Department is conducting some investigations.

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“Of course, when you see fish being dumped, that’s also your sign… that you can’t find a buyer in enough time before the fish spoils,” Zeman said.

The ministry did not respond to post-media questions about enforcement, but for Zeman, examples of waste are the DFO’s inability to deal with poaching and government decision-makers lacking the political will to step up enforcement. is also a sign of a lack of

Randy Nelson, a retired fisheries enforcement officer, said the agency had a special investigative unit trained to conduct undercover investigations for about 27 years before disbanding around 2012.

“I think the first thing the department needs to do is recognize that there is a problem,” Nelson said.

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“The illegal selling epidemic is now over the roof and we have heard nothing from the Commonwealth Minister (Joyce Murray). .

The Fraser Salmon Commission released its latest mid-season counts on Friday, raising its projected total for Fraser sockeye salmon to 6.4 million from 5.5 million at the end of August. only two-thirds.

Given that other river systems, including the Columbia and Alaskan rivers, have experienced stronger than expected returns, these were thought to be the dominant years in the sockeye salmon’s four-year spawning cycle, but were disappointing. is a result.

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Abundance has enabled indigenous food, social and ceremonial fishing, and last week allowed very limited commercial purse seine fishing in the extra-estuary waters of the Fraser River.

Poaching, which Greg Taylor calls “illegal, unmonitored and unenforced” fishing, takes place outside of fish quotas and is frustrating when conservation concerns are so great.

“There’s real money involved in this, it’s cash, and it involves all kinds of people and organizations of all nationalities,” said Taylor, fisheries adviser for the Watershed Watch Salmon Society. increase.

However, the Fisheries Agency’s “no interference” approach to enforcement makes it difficult to quantify the scale of the problem.

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Taylor added that poaching is occurring at a time when the Fraser River is closed to all fishing.

“I mean, without the police policing the highways, people would be speeding,” Taylor said.

According to Zeman, the federation now pays attention to advertisements selling salmon, allows licensed sellers to show such evidence, and encourages them to download the BCWF Conservation App. It is said that it is aiming.

“Our job is to let the public know what’s going on,” said Zeman.

depenner@postmedia.com

twitter.com/derrickpenner

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Fraser remains off-limits, but signs of sockeye poaching abound

Source link Fraser remains off-limits, but signs of sockeye poaching abound

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