Robert Sanford pleaded guilty in Chilliwack Provincial Court last month to violating the Fisheries Act by removing unprocessed fish from a dry rack site.
It dates back to the last traditional dry rack fishery for sockeye in the Fraser Canyon, at Union Bar, near Hope on July 27, 2016.
Fishery officers observed harvesters fishing heavily without adequate facilities to process the large quantity of fish being caught.
Sanford was fined and fishery officers seized 230 sockeye and seven chinook.
Judge Robert Gunnell ordered Sanford to pay a fine of $1,250 and forfeit $1,985 from the sale of the seized salmon, according to a release from Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
A story from a few years ago, described what it means to Sto:lo communities when the dry rack fishery was finally opened because there was enough fish to justify one.
It’s clearly spelled out in the licensing conditions that the fish has to be processed on-site, said Cheam Chief Ernie Crey, fisheries advisor to Sto:lo Tribal Council.
“You can’t catch it, put it in a tote and drive away. This has been how they licence and manage the dry rack fishery for some time now,” he said.
Any Sto:lo families, who traditionally set up fish camps and drying structures in the Fraser Canyon to air dry the sockeye at the perfect time, know the rules.
“It looks like this was an instance where someone forgot to play by the rules – or made a mistake – or they were trying to bend the rules,” he said.
The Sto:lo are very protective of this fishery, which they lobbied very hard to get opened, he noted, and families often stay at their fish camps if they get an opening.