This male Dungeness can safely be harvested after passing muster. An official with Fisheries and Oceans Canada says it is not clear how well locals on the Saanich Peninsula are complying with crabbing regulations, but her comments suggest that any problems might be of a minor nature. (Department of Fisheries and Oceans/Submitted)

This male Dungeness can safely be harvested after passing muster. An official with Fisheries and Oceans Canada says it is not clear how well locals on the Saanich Peninsula are complying with crabbing regulations, but her comments suggest that any problems might be of a minor nature. (Department of Fisheries and Oceans/Submitted)

Sidney and Sooke record 57 crabbing violations in 2020

While recreational crab fishery has ‘compliance issues,’ no evidence of ‘large scale poaching’

An official with Fisheries and Oceans Canada says it is not clear how well locals are complying with crabbing regulations, but her comments suggest that any problems might be of a minor nature.

Mandy Ludlow, a fishery officer and detachment commander of the Georgia Basin South Detachment, part of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Conservation and Protection Program, said it is difficult to answer the question of how widespread the problem of illegal crabbing off Sidney Wharf is.

The detachment recorded 57 violations of various kinds in 2020 at the respective crabbing docks in Sidney and Sooke but does not distinguish between the two locations.

“As the areas aren’t patrolled every day, and there hasn’t been appropriate methodology developed to compare this area from other areas for compliance rates, this question is tough to answer,” she said. “What we haven’t noticed at the Sidney crab docks, is any large-scale poaching.”

She added all investigations so far have involved a small number of recreational and domestic fishers and what she called “small amounts of illegal harvest.”

Officers with the local detachment conduct regular patrols in Sidney, as do officers with the marine patrol program, said Ludlow. Sidney/North Saanich RCMP officers also receive training, attending crabbing spots and issuing tickets. “This support is greatly appreciated,” she said.

RELATED: Plan to clean up crabbing area in Sidney catches on with council

RELATED:WATCH: Crabbing on the coast is a pastime for some, a sustainable food source for others

This said, the detachment has seen its staff decrease in last several years.

“With competing priorities, the recreational crab fishery compliance issues cannot be attended to every day,” she said, adding the detachment tries to address the issues by promoting voluntary compliance.

“Until a particular fishery is 100 per cent compliant all the time, there is always room for improvement,” she said. “The ideal enforcement mechanism is voluntary compliance through education. If fishers always went online or called a local office to ensure they are in compliance with a particular fishery every time they went fishing, that would be success.”

Ludlow said the retention of undersized (male) crabs is an obvious danger of illegal harvesting. Male Dungeness and red rock crabs must be at least 165 mm and 115 mm wide at the widest part of the shell, she said. These limits are based on how big those crabs must be before they reproduce. “When undersized crabs are retained, those animals never have a chance to reproduce and this negatively impacts the fishery for the future,” she said. It is illegal to harvest females of any size.

Getting caught fishing without a Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Licence triggers a $100 ticket; retaining undersized crabs triggers a fine of $150 for the first crab and $50 for any additional crabs up to $1,000. Fishing with illegal crab traps is $150 per trap.

Ludlow said the public can report any fisheries violations at 1-800-465-4336 or email DFO.ORR-ONS.MPO@dfo-mpo.gc.ca.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Just Posted

Berwick by the Sea resident Hilda Shilliday, 91, is ready to participate in the Grandmothers to Grandmothers’ Stride to turn the Tide fundraising event that runs April 11-25. Register on the event website for a fee of $20 which goes to support the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s work in Africa, then do any kind of exercise, log the time, distance or whatever and be eligible for a prize package. Photo contributed
91-year-old Vancouver Islander ready to Stride to Turn the Tide

Campbell River’s Hilda Shilliday encourages everyone to support African grandmothers

Exterior of Highland Manor shows at least one broken window, covered with a blanket. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
Reclaiming blighted Vancouver Island apartment complex requires more than paint

Improvements to Port Hardy’s troubled Highland Manor are slow and stuck in red tape

Kit Thornton, chief aquarist at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea, plays with Wanda, the female Giant Pacific octopus currently residing at the centre. The centre will release Wanda back into the wild next month. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
An octopus named Wanda will soon say goodbye to Sidney

Wanda’s personality is ‘complete opposite’ of previous octopus named after Dr. Bonnie Henry

Carson Grant, general manager of Comox Valley Dodge regularly reaches out to people to assist with vehicles, food, clothes and more. Google Maps photo
Vancouver Islander getting back on her feet thanks to kindness of her community

Woman was living in her broken-down truck in Comox Valley when her call for help was answered

The Town of Lake Cowichan wants to get more people out of their cars. That should be the goal of all of the transportation plans currently under review in the Cowichan Valley. (Gazette file)
Editorial: Time to dream up better transportation options

Vancouver Island needs to ask ‘how are we going to get there from here?’

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
UVic, women’s rowing coach deny former athlete’s allegation of verbal abuse

Lily Copeland alleges coach Barney Williams would stand close to her and speak aggressively in the sauna

Librarian Katie Burns with the Fraser Valley Regional Libraries poses for a photo in Chilliwack on June 18, 2019. Monday, April 12, 2021 is Library Workers’ Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 11 to 17

Library Workers Day, That Sucks! Day, and Wear Your Pyjamas to Work Day are all coming up this week

The City of Parksville encourages residents to visit outdoor restaurant patios as part of a social media challenge. (Submitted photo)
Parksville promotes patio patrons to post pictures to support restaurant industry

Patio Challenge: Take a photo of your food for social media

Campbell River’s Repair Cafe is on once again next week at the Sportsplex. It’ll just look a little different than people are used to. Mirror File Photo
Got a broken thing? Repair Cafe is once again looking for stuff to fix

Annual Campbell River service will be a drop-off/pick-up situation due to COVID-19 protocols

Anna Wu, a young golfer from Victoria, came in second at the Masters’ Drive, Chip and Putt challenge at the Augusta National Golf Club on March 4. (Photo courtesy of Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Victoria golfer places second at Masters’ Drive, Chip and Putt youth competition

Anna Wu’s chipping challenge hole out was praised by Masters champ Phil Mickelson

‘Frank Ney’ by Patrick Flavin, ‘Millstone River Upper Falls’ by John Collison Baker, ‘Labyrinth of Dreams’ by MA Molcan, ‘On the Other Side’ by Liana Ravensbergen, ‘December Snow’ by Laurel Karjala and ‘Jacks Point’ by Dana Smiley (cropped, clockwise from top-left) are among the works in the Nanaimo Arts Council’s latest exhibition. (Photos courtesy Nanaimo Arts Council)
Nanaimo Arts Council presents its first online gallery show

Submissions now open for upcoming ‘Ekphrastic Celebration’ show

Most Read