Government of Alberta Fish and Wildlife Officers Bust Illegal Fish-trafficking Ring

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Operation lasting three and a half years concludes with charges laid.

Edmonton... Twenty-seven individuals from Pigeon Lake, Wetaskiwin, Camrose, Rimbey and Edmonton have been charged with 72 counts under the Fisheries (Alberta) Act. Charges include the unlawful sale and purchase of walleye and whitefish.

Court dates have been set for May. The maximum penalty for illegally killing, buying or selling fish under the Fisheries (Alberta) Actis a $100,000 fine and one year in jail.

Fish and Wildlife Enforcement launched the three-and-a-half-year investigation in 2008 after officers in Wetaskiwin received confidential information about illegal buying and selling of fish in the Pigeon Lake area.

The individuals accused are not associated with the legal commercial fishing industry. The charges allege the accused formed an underground network of illegal buyers and sellers to avoid detection by authorities. This type of illegal activity poses a serious threat to Alberta’s fish populations and harms the legitimate commercial fishing industry.

Anyone with information that would assist in solving any fish or wildlife crime in Alberta is asked to contact a local Alberta government Fish and Wildlife Enforcement office or call the toll-free Report A Poacher line at 1-800-642-3800. The Report A Poacher line is open 24 hours. Anyone who provides information can remain anonymous and could qualify for a reward.