Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Division Makes Gains in Protecting Resources
Director of Communications
Department of Justice
Monday, January 28, 2013
Surveillance operations by Fish and Wildlife Enforcement officers are protecting Newfoundland and Labrador inland fish and game from poachers. There were a total of 944 charges laid or warnings issued in 2012 with offences ranging from illegal netting and jigging of fish, to poaching of big game and ATV violations. Since 2006, fisheries and wildlife officers have dealt with over 5,200 violations, with total fines issued exceeding $430,000.
"Our officers are doing an excellent job in their efforts to protect the province's wildlife," said the Honourable Darin King, Minister of Justice. "We have made significant investments in the Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Division over the past few years in areas including recruitment, training and equipment upgrades. These investments are paying off."
The Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Division was formed in April 2011 and is responsible for the provincial enforcement of laws relating to inland fish and wildlife resources. Efforts are primarily directed towards addressing illegal and organized poaching activity, usually involving the illegal commercialization of salmon and big game.
In 2012, an awareness campaign, including television commercials and Internet advertising, contributed to an increased number of reports of poaching and general inquiries from the public. Last year alone there were 950 complaints of illegal activity, up significantly from 587 complaints in 2011.
"It is important that residents of Newfoundlandand Labrador be engaged in protecting our natural resources," said Minister King. "The province's fish and wildlife are significant to the province culturally, economically and as sources of food. The most recent data we have shows that they are the drivers of a multi-million dollar fishing, hunting and trapping industry that was worth $163 million in 2010."
The public plays an important role in catching poachers by anonymously reporting suspected poaching activity 24-hours a day, toll-free, to Fish and Wildlife Enforcement at 1-877-820-0999. Anonymous online reports can also be submitted at www.stoppoaching.ca.