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Misreporting Shrimp Catches Results in Significant Fines for Four Harvesters

CANADA - Investigations by fishery officers with Fisheries and Oceans Canada have resulted in the convictions of four commercial harvesters who misreported their shrimp catches, leading to significant court-imposed fines totaling more than C$35,000.

The fines resulted from providing false information in fishing logbooks and illegally providing that misleading information to Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Compliance with fisheries regulations is vital to sustaining resources and building economically prosperous fisheries, said Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Keith Ashfield. Misreporting fishing catches threatens conservation, hurts the sustainability of fishing resources and undermines the work of scientists who use the data from fishing logbooks to assess the health of stocks.

These investigations resulting in these charges utilised modern enforcement tools designed to retrieve, integrate, and analyse data from multiple sources. Data was also collected from surveillance flights and mid-distance patrols, in-port and at-sea inspections, statistical systems, historical catch information, Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) and Dockside Monitoring Programme (DMP) records.

Provincial courts have recognized the importance of fisheries conservation, and when imposing fines for fisheries violations, have re-directed money collected from the fines toward stewardship initiatives. To date this year, a total of C$58,688 in fines from convictions has been ordered re-directed to Fisheries and Oceans for conservation and stewardship programs in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Accurate reporting of fishing catches ensures a level playing field for all harvesters and helps protect the fishery, now and into the future. The misreporting fish catches by falsifying fishing logbooks is a serious offence and the Department has initiated a public awareness campaign aimed directly at fish harvesters.

Lucy Towers

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