Overall good compliance to fishing ban

Conservation Officers patrolled the Babine Lake area seven days a week during the recent sockeye fishing ban.

Conservation Officers patrolled the Babine Lake area seven days a week during the recent sockeye fishing ban.

Federal Fisheries Officer Wade Larson says they did get reports of people fishing for sockeye.

“We have some investigations we’re following up on right now. We don’t have any numbers yet, but overall it’s not a huge amount,” he said.

Larson says there are two different processes of enforcement depending whether it’s sport fishing or First Nations food fishing.

If they came across a boat that was sport fishing on Babine Lake, and it was determined that they were fishing for sockeye, they would likely be charged and issued a federal ticket ranging from $100 to $300, depending on whether they have fish in their possession and how many, Larson said.

Then anything used in the commission of the offence would be seized as evidence, which could include anything from fishing gear to a catch to, depending on the severity of the file, a boat, said Larson.

He adds that what happens with the evidence is up to the courts but usually all evidence is forfeited to the crown.

From there, Larson says boats and gear might go into general revenue, or be destroyed or sent to auction.

A fish still fit for human consumption is usually turned over to the food bank or to a local First Nation in the area who can use it for food, Larson said.

The process for a First Nation food fisher is much the same, except that they cannot issue the offender a ticket; instead it goes straight to court, Larson said.

Larson says patrols were ongoing until September 15 because the closure for sport fishing was in effect until then.

Asked if there has been general compliance to the fishing ban, Larson says there was.

“Everybody has very understanding of the closure and the need for conservation and overall it’s been good compliance,” he said.