Fines issued after people seen ripping claws off crabs, throwing them back
Published Thursday, September 14, 2017 2:14PM PDT
Last Updated Friday, September 15, 2017 8:05AM PDT
Mounties issued fines to two people after witnesses reported seeing them catching undersized crabs and tearing their claws off.
White Rock RCMP said they were called to the pier last Thursday for reports of the illegal catch-and-release.
The report was made by White Rock Sea Tours and Whale Watching staff, according to a Facebook video post from company owner Andrew J. Newman. His video had been shared more than 4,000 times as of Friday morning.
Newman said he and his party witnessed a woman catching undersized female and male crabs, and breaking off the claws. The woman put the claws in her pocket, he wrote, then threw the crabs back in the water.
He said the company called the RCMP, who responded right away.
His video showed an officer pulling something out of a woman's jacket pocket and shaking his head. The items in his gloved hands appear to be crab claws.
A man with a fishing rod, a woman with a lawn chair and another man look on. A plastic bucket and cooler can be seen on the pier nearby.
The woman appears to speak to the man checking her pockets, but what she says cannot be heard in the video.
The officer then asks, "Who has a fishing licence down here?"
The woman shakes her head and waves her hand, signaling she does not, and he asks her for ID. Then the 30-second video cuts off.
Newman wrote that he'd seen crabs caught all summer missing pinchers or legs and wondered what was happening.
"Poachers break the legs off live animals that are female or young that they are not allowed to take and they throw the live animal back into the water to fend for itself with no arms to feed itself," he wrote.
"It is an act of greed and cruelty."
Mounties provided few details, but confirmed that an officer had attended the scene and issued two federal tickets. The fines, totaling $450, were for undersized crabs and fishing without a licence.
The tickets were given to a White Rock woman and a Belgian man.
The RCMP said Fisheries and Oceans Canada was also notified, and may be conducting its own investigation.