NL Government: Charges for Provincial Fisheries Violations Tripled in 2018
October 12, 2018
Provincial Fish and Wildlife Enforcement staff – working with a contingent of 43 active officers – laid almost three times more charges for inland fish-related offences in 2018 compared to the previous year. Provincial officers laid 50 charges in 2018, compared to 17 in 2017. To date this year, the division has received 128 public complaints of suspected illegal fishing activity – including 67 in the eastern region, 53 in western and eight in Labrador – and spent approximately 27,000 person hours in related investigations and enforcing inland fish-related legislation.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is reporting the number of fishing violations on the province’s salmon rivers during the 2018 season was on par with previous years at 136 violations – eight more than in 2017 – including 41 illegal nets located and removed. However, this figure does not include provincial enforcement statistics.
DFO has jurisdiction over salmon enforcement in Newfoundland and Labrador. Provincial Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Officers enforce both the Federal Fisheries Act and the Provincial Wild Life Act as required. While DFO’s fishery officers – which include seasonal, contract and Indigenous guardians as well as DFO officers – patrol and monitor inland rivers and related coastal areas year-round, they do so in a reduced capacity in the fall and winter.
Provincial fish and wildlife enforcement officers are fewer in number but defend the resource 12 months of the year with no reduction in staffing, even during the off-season when salmon poaching may still occur and they are focused on their primary mandate of big and small game hunting enforcement, along with enforcing ATV, firearms, and protected areas legislation.
“Despite inland fish enforcement being the Federal Government’s responsibility, provincial fish and wildlife enforcement officers continue to step up to enforce both the Federal Fisheries Act and the Provincial Wild Life Act. We will continue to demand that the Federal Government recognize its responsibility to conservation and stewardship in Newfoundland and Labrador.”
Honourable Gerry Byrne
Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources
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Fisheries and Land Resources