PORT HARDY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - June 17, 2015) - A commercial groundfish harvester pled guilty in Port Hardy Provincial Court on May 13, 2015, to contraventions of the Fisheries Act. The Honourable Judge B.H. Saunderson sentenced Gordon Plensky, master and owner of the fishing vessel DEVOTION, for fishing in an area closed to commercial groundfish harvesting near Hartley Bay, in northern British Columbia. Mr. Plensky was ordered to pay a fine of $14,500. He also pled guilty to charges originating from a separate 2013 closed-area violation in Gwaii Haanas, and was fined an additional $8,500 and ordered to observe a 1km no-fishing prohibition around Rockfish Conservation Areas or other permanently closed areas for one year.

Quick Facts

  • Mr. Plensky fished with hook and line gear in the Otter Passage Rockfish Conservation Area from July 3-5, 2012, and in the Cape St. James Marine Protected area, which is part of Gwaii Haanas National Park, May 17-20, 2013.
  • $11,500 of the fine was directed for the use of Fisheries and Oceans Canada to support the conservation and the protection of rockfish and their habitat.
  • The court case relied on evidence from the Dockside Monitoring Program and At-sea Electronic Monitoring Program, which provide accurate, timely and independent third-party verification of fishing operations, catches and landings.
  • The groundfish hook and line fisheries are among the most valuable in BC with annual landings of halibut, sablefish, lingcod, and rockfish, worth approximately $70 - 75 million per year.
  • Rockfish can live to be well over 100 years old and many will not reproduce until they are 10 to 15 years old. The fish also cannot adjust to sudden changes in barometric pressure, so rarely survive after being caught, even if they are released. To help conserve these species, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has established 164 Rockfish Conservation Areas (RCAs) along the B.C. coast where fishing for rockfish is prohibited.

The Government of Canada is committed to safeguarding the long-term health and productivity of Canada's fisheries resources, and the habitat that supports them, for generations to come. Fisheries and Oceans Canada has a mandate to protect and conserve marine resources and to prosecute offenders under the Fisheries Act. It ensures and promotes compliance with the Act and other laws and regulations through a combination of land, air, and sea patrols, as well as education and awareness activities.

As part of Fisheries and Oceans Canada's work to end illegal activity, the Department asks the public for information on activities of this nature or any contravention of the Fisheries Act and regulations. Anyone with information can call the toll-free violation reporting line at 1-800-465-4336.

Associated Links

• For more on B.C.'s Rockfish Conservation Areas: http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/maps-cartes/rca-acs/index-eng.html

• For more on Groundfish hook and line management: http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/commercial/ground-fond/index-eng.html

Internet: http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca

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Contact Information:

Leri Davies, Strategic Media Relations Advisor
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Region
(604) 666-8675
Cell: 604-612-6837