Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is taking a more intelligence-led and longer-term approach to conserving and protecting fishery resources in Atlantic Canada and its efforts are paying off for the Atlantic halibut fishery in particular.
DFO’s increased focus on the monitoring of catch and landings of Atlantic halibut has resulted in a long line of convictions, totaling over $1 million in fines and forfeitures over the last five years.
Atlantic halibut is an important resource and great efforts have been made to rebuild this fishery over the last decade. In an effort to identify and reduce threats to this fishery, the Department has modernized its approach to conservation and protection. This includes information collection, longer-term analysis and comprehensive investigations that have resulted in more substantial fines and consequently greater deterrence to illegal fishing activities.
Fishery officers in Atlantic Canada undertook a comprehensive, multi-year investigation into this fishery to identify relationships between players in the fishery and charge the key culprits for illegal fishing, possession and sale of Atlantic halibut.
Fishery officers carried out extensive monitoring and surveillance operations, sometimes covert in nature, and gathered forensic intelligence from multiple sources, such as logbooks, Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) reports and processor files and retail operation records. Since the start of this major investigation in 2010, fishery officers’ efforts have led to 164 convictions across Atlantic Canada, with fines totaling $1,178,000 so far.