Psst, wanna buy a salmon?
Fisheries and Oceans Canada suggests you might not want to because the fish could be illegally caught.
Lower Mainland fisheries officers have been receiving a “significant volume of public complaints around rampant and open illegal sales” of fresh salmon, particularly in the Langley area, noted Fisheries and Oceans media spokesperson Leri Davies.
“There are currently no economic opportunity fisheries happening on the Fraser, just FSC [food, social and ceremonial], and the recreational fishery is closed due to concerns around Chinook salmon,” she noted.
The federal department responsible for the West Coast fisheries (DFO) noted that the sale of illegal salmon not only represent a significant risk to human health, they also pose a considerable risk to salmon stocks that are vulnerable.
DFO warns that people who buy illegal salmon risk fines and jail time as well as harm the management of fish resources. As well, there are no safeguards on handling, processing, transport and storage.
Selling and buying of seafood illegally is covered under both federal and provincial legislation. If you are caught purchasing, selling, trading or bartering seafood caught in a fishery where sales are not authorized, you could face fines as high as $100,000, and/or up to two years in jail.
If in doubt, ask what fishery the seafood has come from and request to see the commercial licence or Aboriginal Fishery Landing Slip.
Anyone wanting to report illegal fishing or fish sales can contact the Observe, Record and Report (ORR) phone line at 1-800-465-4336, or any DFO office.