Another illegal dump of hundreds of Dungeness crab has been discovered along Hwy 16.
Responding to a tip, Department of Fisheries and Oceans officers found the discard site of about 200 crab 20 kilometres west of Hazelton, just off the highway on Skeena Crossing Road.
“The crab at [this] site appeared to be heavily decayed leading officers to believe it had been there for several weeks before discovery,” DFO says in a press release. “Fishery officers are confident the second location is related to the wastage that was discovered in early April along Highway 16.”
On April 2, fisheries officers in the Smithers detachment received information from the BC Conservation Officer Service about 250 Dungeness crabs illegally discarded in the same area. Both incidents are in violation of the Fisheries Act, which prohibits the waste of any fish that is suitable for human consumption.
Following the first incident, officers received a dozen tips from the public by email, phone and office walk-ins which they say provided valuable information to their investigation.
DFO called the first incident a “serious occurrence” and believe it is linked with ongoing illegal fish-sale issues on the North Coast, possibly originating from the Prince Rupert area.
“Illegal seafood sales are of serious concern to the Department as they compromise the long-term management and sustainability of the resource, diminish the significant economic benefit from a legal fishery to coastal communities, and may give rise to health and safety concerns,” a DFO spokesperson said earlier this month. “Only fish authorized for public sale are subject to required health and safety inspections.”
Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to call the 24-hour Observe Record Report line at 1-800-465-4336.