Fish carcasses were left strewn across the public boat ramp in Port Edward and were discovered by district employees Thursday morning.
The heaping mix of salmon, halibut and rock fish waste were found at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday and public works foreman, Scott Duffus, figured the incident occurred some time Wednesday night.
“We’ve had previous problems with people dumping fish there and we actually had a grizzly bear problem because of it. We had conservation destroy two bears over a three year period,” Duffus said.
In his 11 years working for the district Duffus said he has never seen anything this bad.
After the Northern View reported on the incident the District of Port Edward said an individual came forward.
The people involved told the district they had misjudged the ramp. The district will decide on a suitable cleanup cost for those responsible.
Despite signage asking fishermen to dispose fish carcasses at the end of the dock in deep water this mess was left for the District of Port Edward to clean up. CONTRIBUTED/THE NORTHERN VIEW
Boat ramp abuse isn’t uncommon in Port Edward. Two days previous to this incident, district councillor Dan Franzen said he went there to launch his boat and fish guts had been dumped all over the ramp.
“I physically got stuck in the fish guts and I had to put the truck in four wheel drive to get out of there,” Franzen said.
The tide won’t carry the carcasses out with the tide, Franzen explained, due to a lack of current in the area so the fish guts just sit there.
The district has set up a fish cleaning area out on the dock to avoid attracting bears. There is also signage asking fishermen to dispose carcasses at the end of the dock in deep water, but in this case it was blatantly ignored.
“It’s not right. It’s disrespectful and we could have to end up shooting a bear again. We don’t like to do that,” Franzen said.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) will not fine the person who came forward for the fish offal left on the ramp Wednesday night.
DFO spokesperson Dan Bate responded in an email by calling the scene “an unfortunate mess” and then recited Section 36 of the Fisheries Act that no one shall leave or deposit or throw remains of fish or marine animals on the shore, beach or bank of any water between high and low water mark.
The public boat ramp in Port Edward on the morning of July 21 where a dump of fish carcasses were left. CONTRIBUTED/THE NORTHERN VIEW
A concerned Prince Rupert resident, Jim Colussi, is also worried about the fish remnants that have been left at Rushbrook Harbour boat launch.
“I would like to see signage and a container or something for them to dispose of their carcasses,” he said on Friday. He brought this up with the city bylaw officer.
The city’s communications manager, Veronika Stewart, responded by stating that “the Rushbrook boat launch has never experienced an issue with dumping of fish carcasses to the extent that happened in Port Edward. Because of the big tides in the Prince Rupert harbour, generally any waste that is left around the ramp area is taken care of by Mother Nature and washed out to sea quite swiftly.”
She included that city staff patrol Rushbrook on a daily basis and when they do discover the odd fish head or carcass, they are cleaned up as soon as possible.
“The city encourages residents to dump their fish waste into deeper waters so that it may wash out to sea quickly.”