Fishing forum > Natives finally get busted!@!!!!!!

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The real Steelyslayer

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Cheam, fisheries officers spar

Maurice Bridge
Vancouver Sun

Friday, August 19, 2005

CHILLIWACK -- It was another tense day on the Fraser River Thursday as Cheam fishing boats came off the beach in a bid to keep fisheries officers from arresting two men for fishing illegally for salmon with a driftnet.

The confrontation came one day after the revelation by a senior enforcement official with Fisheries and Oceans Canada that RCMP officers have been called in to investigate a similar incident that turned ugly last week.

On Aug. 8, a fisheries patrol boat carrying several enforcement officers was reportedly swarmed by a number of small vessels as it moved in to investigate illegal driftnet fishing. No injuries were reported, and no charges have been laid so far, but the investigation has not been concluded.

For Fisheries and Oceans field supervisor Doug Clift and fishery officer Derek Ray, Thursday's uniformed patrol was nothing out of the ordinary.

Within 20 minutes of putting into the river downstream from Hope, they received a call from another fisheries officer, telling them an illegal driftnet had been put into the water across the river from Cheam Beach, a couple of hundred metres upstream from the Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge.

Driftnet fishing for native food and ceremonial purposes is permitted by fisheries regulations at certain times; this was not one of them. Often done at night, it is a quick and furtive activity, with nets left in the water for only 10 or 15 minutes at a time.

Ray opened the throttle of the 150-horsepower Mercury outboard, and even with a Sun photographer/reporter team aboard, the six-metre rigid-hull inflatable skimmed down the river at 50 km/h, rounding a corner just above the bridge at 8:50 a.m. in time to see a small punt with two men in it beside a row of floats.

As the patrol boat slowed and approached the 3.5-metre khaki-coloured punt, the man in the bow began frantically pulling in the net. Every metre or two of monofilament mesh held another three-to-four-kilo salmon.

As the man on the net struggled with the load, his young companion handled the small outboard engine. In the bow of the patrol boat, Clift identified himself as a fisheries officer, and told the two to keep pulling the net and to identify themselves.

They kept working, but said nothing as the patrol vessel stood alongside, Clift holding onto the gunwale of the punt. In less than two minutes, the two had support when a five-metre black outboard-equipped boat charged off the beach on the south side of the river.

In shadows cast by the morning light, about a dozen trucks and and a couple of trailers were parked along the shore, with coolers and beach chairs scattered around. Several men on the shore got to their feet, and someone shouted "Wake everyone up!"

The black boat raced toward the fisheries vessel, diverting Clift's attention and forcing him to let go of the punt.

"This is a fisheries investigation," he shouted, as it pulled close. "Don't interfere."

The boat operator, a young man with his face partially hidden by a black hoodie, backed off a short distance, but did not leave. His companion pulled off his T-shirt and tied it around his face to hide his own identity, replacing his baseball cap to leave only his eyes visible. He shouted at the fisheries officers, his words unintelligible behind his mask, but his anger clear.

A second boat soon arrived, with one man in it. He did not hide his face, and stayed further away than the black boat. His words carried better: "Food fish only," he called.

With the net holding several dozen pink and sockeye salmon finally pulled in, the operator in the punt gunned the outboard, pulling away from the patrol boat and cutting hard to port, running back toward the beach about 20 metres away.

More than a dozen men now lined the shore, some making obscene gestures and clutching their crotches.

The black boat swung in alongside the punt on the port side, shielding it from the patrol boat.

"Keep your head up for rocks," cautioned Ray, as we approached the beach.

The punt ran up on the sand and several men began quickly taking fish out of the net, throwing them into large plastic coolers. Ray kept the patrol boat about five metres offshore, letting it drift slowly downstream, and Clift recorded potential evidence with a digital camera.

"Yer f----- pathetic," shouted a woman, who emerged near the vehicles higher up the bank.

As the unloading continued, the masked man grabbed a pink salmon and hurled it toward the fisheries boat. It fell short and disappeared into the current with a splash.

As the boat drifted further, Clift spotted the telltale lines of a couple of illegal nets tied to anchor points on the edge of the river, one inadequately disguised by a black rubber mat, the other nearly invisible, knotted close to the muddy water.

Ray pulled back into the main current and let the engine idle, and the patrol boat moved gently downstream away from the beach, emerging into the sunlight.

The two officers took a break to put their observations into their notebooks. With extra passengers and without backup, arrests weren't an option, and they were forced to settle for laying the groundwork for possible charges of illegal driftnet fishing.

Clift had a name the man on the net grudgingly gave him, but, as he admitted, "I don't even know if it's his real name." Ray thought he had identified him, but by a different name.

Their notes will go into a file that will be forwarded to the federal Justice Department. It will join at least a dozen other similar files, as well as some 32 charges already laid this season.

Each can take a year or more to come to trial, but conviction rates are high. Penalties run from fines of $150 to $300 and the loss of nets for first-timers to higher fines and the loss of boats for repeat offenders.

At the Chilliwack fisheries office, a crowded warehouse currently holds four small boats and dozens of seized nets, all tagged for evidence.

The tension between the Cheam and the fisheries department goes back many years, and flares periodically.

Growing fears about drastically reduced numbers of returning salmon in the Fraser this year have heightened concerns about adequate escapement for spawning.

Herb Redekopp, a senior enforcement official with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, says compliance among Fraser River first nations who fish the river has been strong, with the exception of the Cheam band, which numbers between 300 and 400 individuals.

Cheam band chief Sid Douglas was on holiday Thursday, and the receptionist at the Cheam band office said no one was available to comment

You know guys.......years ago indians used to treat their natural resources as precious and did whatever they could to look after it. We respected that about them. I saw them as caretakers when we made mistakes.
And fast forward to now and we see natives netting fish and then throwing that fish aiming at officers like its a piece of wood. We hear allegations of dumping salmon in ditches because they coudn't make a fast buck. in low abundance years they would let the resource make a comeback.....but not now. they will illegally net the salmon heading for salmon streams in an effort to spawn and then run like thieves when caught.The cheam band only has one motive....mine mine mine! this is renegade action by a band once noted as protectors of the resource and is fuelled by nothong but greed. Food fishery my foot! A whole industry and recreational sector is standing on the sidelines respecting the laws of the land while this happens daily. How times have changed.
The real Steelyslayer


stink finger

Louis Vuitton

What pisses me off is that we pay a conservational sur-charge on our salmon stamps for our licenses to help deal with just that- conservation. The first nations fuck the salmon that are trying to return to spawn, and then they blame it on us and say that its us who are destroying the natural resources.

The beeks are ruining the natural resources! Take a look around and see all the crap they leave behind. Hooks, line, packaging, garbage etc., not to mention the molestation of the sox with their feeble attempts of catch and release! How would you like it if someone scraped your skin off with a razor blade then let you go to walk the streets? Those beeks should be heavily fined and charged to the fullest extent of the law!

nobeeks. apparently without your knowledge and behind your back dfo has made the sockeye salmon as a harvest fishery..not sport. let me clarify...harvest..harvest..harvest. that is why we are paying our license fees so we can harvest at an oppurtunity. and with all baskets their will always be some bad apples but the majority follow regulations. AND SINCE WHEN DID YOU BECOME A SUPER FISHERMAN CALLING PEOPLE BEEKS? YOU WERE ONCE A "BEEK" YOURSELF!
The Yak

easy guys... I really don't like to edit comments as we are all entitled to our own opinions, but racial slurs and insighting violence will not be tolerated.

El nino, how can it be considered a harvest fishery when the river is closed to retention? Come up with something better than that, is your freezer lonely? There was no such thing as a beek when I started fishing, people abided with the rules of the game, if they didn't they would go for a swim.

i class snaggers and poachers on the same table. and they have been violating fishing rules for a long time. i agree with alot of the things you stand for nobeeks.....but this native issue is really frustrating to see play out year to yrear. lol i never fill my freezer with fish cause i'm just not that good or get a chance to go out every week. i love beef more than fish anyways, but fishing is my hobby man.

Appreciate your views El Nino, I knew you weren't a beek all along. I too get tired of the crap going on out on the Fraser and other rivers, but hey, we tried at least. I don't really think ther is an issue with the natives, they're only being told what to do by the DFO.

Fish Carver

Question: Who takes more fish from BC, the entire native fishery both legal and illegal or Jimmy Patterson's fleet?

I've never heard of a Jimmy Patterson. I know Jimmy Pattison's fleet takes the odd fish though.
Boy Wonder

I agree that these so-called "beeks" are no help at all discarding their line, hooks, packaging, etc. but if you ask me (which I know nobody did ) there is absolutely NO reason these people should be entitled to the privilages they are entitled to when it comes to raping our natural resources and descimating pacific salmon runs in the first place...

Argh...sorry I had to add my two cents..
kokanee King

The rape of our rivers (ALL of our rivers) is not a new issue. The FACT the Cheam band is not play'n buy the rules or better yet play'n with half an once of sense should not surprise any one. This band does not represent First Nations peoples any better than a pimp in Walley reps whitey. If one is interested in the complete barbarism of these people just look into the foster care program in Chilliwack and see what this band(maybe it's only there elders, but I don't think so) thinks is good for there youth. They routinely badger ss if one of "there own" is in the care of whitey. Even if that child may be better off to "return" them to there native people. I am about as far left as one can get but even a tiny bit of research into this group will show all but the blindest or dimwits that this group of characters are not reasonable and they will understand nothing but force. I.e. the law applied fully. Cheers.
PS. much love to my FN friends. None to those that break there trust and kill for gain like the white man.


that's funny you mentioned jimmy pattison. my father worked at canfisco for 38 years in upper management. he was in charge of the packer fleet and my father once sent me out on a packer 30 years ago when he couldn't find a deckhand. we were gone a week and in that time picked up maybe 1000 pounds of fish in total. i doubt it even paid for the fuel costs let alone wages for the crew. and that was 30 years ago. i don't buy into natives and their rights. if they insist on the right to fish, fine use the same tools and techniques their grandfathers and great grandfathers used. spears. funny how those officers retreated, sure they had a reporter on board but surely he signed a waiver so i don't buy their excuse about him on board. by retreating as they did i'll bet they were the laughing stock of the native festival that night. Ed

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