Pair of dip-netters catch hefty fine

Lake whitefish and a burbot (or ling cod) caught illegally with a dip net

Lake whitefish and a burbot (or ling cod, bottom right) caught illegally with a dip net (far left).

One of the Government of Alberta’s goals is to protect, preserve and manage the province’s fish and wildlife. This means making sure Albertans understand and follow legislation that protects fish and wildlife, and our province has a special kind of law enforcement officer to do just that; they’re called Fish and Wildlife officers. This province’s natural resources belong to us all, and a big part of Fish and Wildlife officer’s job is to catch those who hunt or fish illegally.

For example, it’s illegal to use a dip net to catch fish in Alberta. Lake whitefish are particularly susceptible to dip-netting when they are spawning because the fish gather in shallow water at nighttime. This means it’s really easy for someone to just dip their net in the water and scoop a fish right out of its spawning bed.

Lake whitefish spawn September through January. Fish and Wildlife officers are extra watchful during this time, so illegal fisherman often net hefty fines rather than fish. For example, two men from Calgary recently received a combined total of over $10,000 in fines when they pled guilty to unlawfully using a dip net and unlawful possession of lake whitefish and burbot.

Janusz Wysocki received a $3,277 fine and a one-year recreational fishing suspension. On the other hand, Jaroslaw Garlicki had four previous convictions, so this time, the courts handed down a $7,475 fine and a five-year recreational fishing suspension. The two were observed dip-netting on the night of December 3, 2012, by Fish and Wildlife Officers. They took a total of 20 lake whitefish and one burbot.

While this is just one example, sentences like this send a strong message that the Government of Alberta is serious about protecting our province’s natural resources. Anyone with Information that would help solve any fish and wildlife crime in Alberta is asked to call the Report A Poacher line at 1-800-642-3800.

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