Yukon environmental act co ordinator fined for overfishing

Indian and Northern Affairs Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act co-ordinator has been cited for mutilating halibut and overfishing…

Indian and Northern Affairs Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act co-ordinator has been cited for mutilating halibut and overfishing king salmon in Alaska.

Ron Chambers “knew what the limit was,” said Alaskan State Trooper Andy Savland.

But he broke the rules anyway.

Chambers, 55, and two fishing companions might not have been caught had their boat not struck what they thought was a whale on June 16.

The 7.3-metre vessel was near Point Adolphus when the crew saw something in front of them rise up from the water at the last minute.

“They went over what they thought was a whale; they weren’t totally sure,” said Savland.

Troopers checked the area, but were not able to find any signs of an injured whale.

The impact nearly dislodged the fibreglass boat’s outdrive, opening up a hole about the size of a golf ball in its rubber boot. This started to flood the engine compartment.

The coast guard responded with a helicopter, said Savland, who was not sure if the craft was towed, or made it to shore with a tiny back-up engine, or “kicker.”

Once they got to the beach, someone gave them a manual pump, because the electric one had quit, said Savland.

Two large coolers were also transferred to another vessel to provide better stability.

That’s when the fishing infractions were discovered.

“They had an over-limit of king salmon and mutilated halibut,” said Savland.

The trouble with people cutting up halibut is you can’t tell how many there are, he said.

 “When you take halibut, you can’t cut them up into small chunks.

“You’re supposed to cut them into fillets, that way you can tell there are four fillets per halibut.”

Chambers and his crew had had two large coolers full of fish, added Savland.

The set fine for mutilating halibut is $210 US, while the over-limit fine for king salmon is $260.

Both Chambers and Ron Thiessen, 61, of Winnipeg, were issued citations.

Chambers admitted to both infractions, as well as failing to log his king salmon catch, said Savland.

Despite repeated requests over the last week, Chambers did not return calls by press time.