Investigations by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) into the Boundary Bay commercial crab fleet between British Columbia and Washington state have resulted in several convictions in Surrey Provincial Court, the agency announced in mid-September.
Four vessel masters received fines and forfeitures totaling more than $287,000 in Canadian dollars. One captain also received a first-ever fishing prohibition.
On Aug. 4, Han Van Lam, master of the fishing vessel John Lam, pleaded guilty to illegally fishing in U.S. waters off Boundary Bay during the 2019 and 2020 commercial seasons. Under Canada’s Fisheries Act, it’s illegal for anyone on a vessel subject to Canadian jurisdiction to fish outside of Canadian fisheries waters.
Lam, who has previous violations, was fined $50,000, forfeited 96 traps that had been seized as evidence and was prohibited from fishing for the first 14 days of the annual commercial season openings in 2024 and 2025. This is the first time that this prohibition has been imposed by the courts, according to DFO.
On the same day, Michael Hau, master of the f/v Muoi H, pleaded guilty to failing to scan his traps during the 2018, 2019 and 2020 crab-fishing seasons, as per the conditions of his license. He was fined $20,000 and forfeited an additional $19,030.68 from the value of his catch.
On June 27, Hoan Trung Do, master of the f/v Bounty Hunter, pleaded guilty to fishing in U.S. waters and setting more traps than allowed under the conditions of his license in 2018, 2019 and 2020. He was fined $160,000.
On June 23, Viet Dam, master of the f/v Pacific Falcon, pleaded guilty to illegally fishing in U.S. waters and fishing more traps than are allowed under his license conditions in 2019. He was fined $38,000 and forfeited 83 traps.
DFO, which has a mandate to protect and conserve marine resources and to enforce the Fisheries Act, has asked the public for information on illegal fishing activities. Anyone with information may call DFO Pacific region’s toll-free violation reporting line at 1-800-465-4336, or email the details to DFO.ORR-ONS.MPO@dfo-mpo.gc.ca.