33 people charged in fish trafficking

On January 23, 2020, Alberta Fish and Wildlife concluded a two-year undercover investigation focused on the trafficking of fish in northern and central Alberta.

The investigation began when officers received information alleging that unlawful trafficking of fish was occurring in the High Prairie and Faust areas.

Officers began an undercover investigation in November 2017. Thirty-three individuals from High Prairie, Faust, Slave Lake, Morinville, Edmonton, Vegreville, Bashaw, Castor and Halkirk were charged with 80 counts under the General Fisheries (Alberta) Regulations.

Charges include the unlawful sale, purchase and possession of fish, including lake whitefish and walleye.

The final undercover buy on Thursday, January 23 resulted in the seizure of a 2002 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 truck, 4 gill nets, 5 fish tubs and gill netting equipment. Any unregulated trade in fish and wildlife helps fuel black market demand, which could lead to increased poaching and pressure on fish and wildlife populations. The penalty for trafficking fish is a maximum $100K and one-year incarceration per count.

Initial court appearances are scheduled for:

– February 11th, 2020 in Morinville

– February 18th, 2020 in Edmonton

– February 19th, 2020 in Slave Lake

– February 24th, 2020 in High Prairie

– February 27th, 2020 in Stettler

Any information given to fish and wildlife officers by the public related to unlawful activity is taken very seriously. Reports about fish and wildlife trafficking is forwarded to a specialized unit within the Alberta Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Branch so they can be properly investigated. This Section includes undercover officers to help prevent unlawful commercialization and other offences.

Anyone with information about any wildlife or fishery violations is encouraged to call the 24-hour Report A Poacher line at 1-800-642-3800. Callers can remain anonymous and could qualify for a reward.

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