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Dozens of tickets issued during Burrard Inlet salmon run; DFO calls it an ‘urgent’ issue

By Pippa Norman and Renee Bernard

A run of pink salmon swimming up Burrard Inlet to Indian Arm is creating “an urgent” issue, according to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).

The natural phenomenon may be a spectacular sight, but it’s being accompanied by the issuing of dozens of tickets by DFO officers over the past week.

The DFO’s Art Demsky says he understands the excitement of fishers on the water, but it’s crucial to remember many areas are off limits.

“The pinks are kind of leading people to fish in the closed areas because they simply can’t resist. There are so many fish jumping and visible. You look down in the water there are literally thousands and they’re swarming,” he said.

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Demsky says the closed areas are there to protect vulnerable rockfish populations and the fine for disobeying the closures is $500. When anglers venture into the restricted areas, Demsky says rockfish are being caught alongside the salmon.

“When they get brought up fairly quickly on a fishing line their swim bladder inflates so then they’re very susceptible to predators, seals, eagles, and they can die,” Demsky said.

Rockfish Conservation Areas have been established across B.C.’s coast to protect the threatened species from all mortality related to recreational and commercial fisheries, according to the DFO. There are 37 species of rockfish caught in fisheries off the coast of B.C.

Fines for exceeding the catch-limit and using illegal gear are also being issued to anglers in the area, Demsky said.

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