In this photo taken in 2014, a Fisheries officer displays a chinook salmon that has been snagged - an illegal method of catching fish that involves hooking them, often in the belly or tail or fins. They often get away but the injuries can lead to death or the inability of a female fish to spawn. (DFO photo)

In this photo taken in 2014, a Fisheries officer displays a chinook salmon that has been snagged - an illegal method of catching fish that involves hooking them, often in the belly or tail or fins. They often get away but the injuries can lead to death or the inability of a female fish to spawn. (DFO photo)

Shuswap man gets more penalties after breaking fishing prohibition

Ashton Creek man gets second prohibition after catching chinook illegally in Shuswap River in 2014

A Shuswap man with a history of fishing illegally in the Shuswap River has received a second five-year fishing prohibition after breaking the first one imposed in 2015.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada issued a news release regarding Frederick Stanley Kent, 60, from the community of Ashton Creek. Kent was found guilty on Dec. 21, 2020 in Salmon Arm Provincial Court of fishing while prohibited, as well as unlawful possession of fish. He was ordered to pay a $1,500 fine, forfeit his fishing equipment and was issued another five-year fishing prohibition.

In sentencing, Judge George Leven pointed to the importance of protecting fragile fish stocks to ensure the survival of the species. He said he hoped the case would serve as a deterrent to others who consider abusing the resource.

The offence took place on Aug. 27, 2019, when fishery officers observed Kent fishing in the Shuswap River from a bridge near Grindrod. Because of his previous offences, the officers were aware that he was under a court-ordered prohibition. His rod and gear were seized and he was issued an appearance notice for court.

Kent received his first five-year prohibition for violations of the Fisheries Act in 2015.

Read more: Fisheries puts a stop to snagging in Shuswap

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A fishery officer explained following the June 9, 2015 court proceedings that about a dozen people had been throwing rocks at fish and then snagging them – a method that involves impaling fish, often in the belly, tail or fins – at the Trinity (or Baxter) bridge over the Shuswap River, about 10 kilometres east of Enderby near Ashton Creek. Using a plainclothes officer who was fishing legally, about a dozen offenders were identified.

The officer said they would throw rocks at the fish to try to direct them off their migratory path over to where the hooks were. As they would swim by, the offenders would reef on the fishing line and try to impale the fish on the hook. Although it causes many injuries, the fish often get away. Then the injuries can lead to death or the inability of a female fish to spawn.

One of the two most prolific offenders caught was Kent, the officer had said. Initially, he was charged with 78 counts, but they were reduced to 15 at the request of the court. He pleaded guilty to 13 of the 15 counts and was fined $4,550. He was also prohibited from fishing in B.C. for five years.

The violations occurred in August and September of 2014 and included: foul-hooking fish; illegal possession; making a false or misleading statement to a fishery officer; molesting fish; exceeding the monthly quota for adult Chinook salmon; and failing to record his catch.

The illegal fishing in 2014 resulted in a decision between the province and Fisheries and Oceans Canada to close all fishing 50 metres upstream and downstream from the Trinity Valley Road Bridge from June 15 to November 15 every year.

The Lower Shuswap River (Region 8) is only open to Chinook harvest for four weeks per year, and strict quotas are in place to ensure survivability of the sensitive Fraser Chinook that migrate from the Pacific Ocean to spawn.


marthawickett@saobserver.net
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