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Boat owners fined for illegal tuna fishing near Bamfield

Crew caught more than 30,000 pounds of albacore tuna in 2022 without a licence
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The commercial tuna fishing vessel Ocean Provider. (PHOTO COURTESY DFO)

The owners of a commercial fishing vessel have been fined $6,000 after pleading guilty to illegally catching more than 30,000 pounds of albacore tuna off the west coast of Vancouver Island last summer.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) says that the fishing vessel Ocean Provider was boarded last summer during a routine fishing inspection that took place 42 nautical miles off Barkley Sound, near Bamfield.

The DFO says that the crew was actively fishing, despite the fact that the vessel was not licenced to fish for tuna at that time. The vessel was escorted to port by the fisheries officers, where the catch was offloaded for processing and seizure.

In total, the DFO seized 2,250 tuna, totalling 31,956 pounds and valued at $127,824.

In Port Alberni provincial court on Jun. 28, 2023, the vessel’s owners—listed as the numbered company 269039 BC Ltd.—pleaded guilty to fishing for albacore tuna between July 22 and Aug. 15, 2022, without the authority of a valid licence. The owners were fined $6,000 and the provincial court upheld the seizure and forfeiture of the tuna.

“This is a serious violation of the Fisheries Act and Canada’s international fisheries obligations,” the DFO said in a statement released Sept. 13, 2023. “As part of DFO’s work to disrupt and prevent illegal activity, the department asks the public for information on activities of this nature or any contravention of the Fisheries Act and regulations.”

Anyone with information about illegal fishing is asked to call the DFO’s Pacific region toll-free violation reporting line at 1-800-465-4336, or to email the details to DFO.ORR-ONS.MPO@dfo-mpo.gc.ca.