270 illegal crab traps seized from Boundary Bay, federal officials say
More than 900 crabs were freed from illegal traps in Boundary Bay last week, according to federal officials.
Between Jan. 23 and Jan 27, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard conducted a "ghost fishing" operation near White Rock.
"To counter suspected illegal fishing, fishery officers conduct dragging operations several times a year to retrieve lost, abandoned or illegally set gear that are out of compliance," a spokesperson for the DFO said in an email.
"These traps can also become buried in the mud over time, making them more difficult to retrieve."
In all, 270 traps were found. The statement from the DFO says more than half of them were sealed shut, which is specifically prohibited by regulations.
"Illegal traps are disposed of by destruction or, if there is value, they are sold through government auction," the DFO spokesperson noted.
Seven hundred and eighty-eight Dungeness crabs and 119 red rock crabs were returned to the water. According to the DFO's website, it is illegal to possess these types of crustacean if they are female.
An investigation is under way to try to identify who set the traps and "charges may follow," the emailed statement says.
Federal officials urge anyone who suspects illegal fishing activity to report it by calling 1-800-465-4336.
This sotry was updated to clarify that only the possession of female Dungeness or red rock crabs is illegal.
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