In a recent court ruling on June 28, 2023, the numbered company 1269039 BC Ltd., composed of multiple partners and owners of the Canadian commercial fishing vessel known as the “Ocean Provider,” faced legal consequences. The company pleaded guilty in Port Alberni Provincial Court to the charge of illegally fishing for albacore tuna between July 22 and August 15, 2022, without the necessary valid license, contravening the Pacific Fishery Regulations, 1993. This violation stands as a grave breach of the Fisheries Act and Canada’s international commitments regarding fisheries management.
The court imposed a fine of $6,000 on the owners of the vessel and confirmed the seizure of a substantial catch, comprising 2,250 tuna, totaling an impressive 31,956 pounds, with an estimated value of $127,824. The seized tuna was forfeited to the Crown.
The investigation by the Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) originated from routine inspections conducted by fishery officers aboard the Canadian Coast Guard Ship (CCGS) Tanu. These inspections targeted both Canadian and United States fishing fleets. Officers boarded the Ocean Provider while it was at sea, situated 42 nautical miles offshore of Barkley Sound on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, near Bamfield, British Columbia. The crew was actively engaged in fishing, and it was determined that the vessel lacked the requisite license to fish for tuna during that period. Subsequently, fishery officers escorted the vessel to port, where the catch was offloaded for further processing and eventual seizure.
DFO has a clear mandate to safeguard and preserve marine resources while enforcing the Fisheries Act. In pursuit of these objectives, the Department actively seeks public assistance in identifying and reporting any instances of illegal fishing activities or violations of fisheries regulations. Anyone possessing relevant information is encouraged to contact DFO Pacific Region’s toll-free violation reporting line at 1-800-465-4336 or submit details via email to DFO.ORR-ONS.MPO@dfo-mpo.gc.ca. The public’s vigilance and cooperation are pivotal in maintaining the integrity of Canada’s fisheries management efforts.