Something fishy: Serious offences increase in 2016, says Fish and Wildlife enforcement

The number of serious fishing-related offences jumped in 2016, says Newfoundland and Labrador department of Justice and Public Safety.

Netting, illegal sale rise while overall number of offences stays steady, say officers

Salmon seized by Fish and Wildlife Enforcement at Traverse Brook near Gambo, N.L., in August. (Fish and Wildlife Enforcement/Submitted)

The number of serious fishing-related offences jumped in 2016, according to Newfoundland and Labrador's Department of Justice and Public Safety.

The Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Division reported Friday that netting violations more than doubled in 2016, with 20 in 2015 versus 43 this year.

Violations for the illegal sale and possession of salmon went up 58 per cent, from 17 offences in 2015 to 27 this year.

The division says the number of fishing offences in 2016, at 174, is comparable with 2015. But it said an increase in the number of serious offences — ones the division warns have the most detrimental effect on salmon populations — is particularly concerning.

"This summer, one file alone saw the seizure of 54 Atlantic salmon from an illegal net in Traverse Brook," the provincial government wrote in a statement.

The division did not provide 2016's total number of offences for all types of hunting and trapping, but in 2015 there were 1,499 violations, a steep increase over 2014's 1,191.

In 2016, Fish and Wildlife enforcement officers seized two vehicles, four ATVs, five boats, two bicycles, 15 nets, 24 fishing rods, 122 salmon, 41 trout and other fishing-related equipment.