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“The fish had been snagged.”

Hundreds of char left to rot at Grinnell River


Fisheries and Oceans Canada officials will likely never know who's responsible for leaving hundreds of Arctic char rotting by the side of the Sylvia Grinnell River.

Fisheries officers received a complaint Aug. 13 that someone abandoned a pile of fish containing hundreds of char – more than 100 kilograms worth.

"All the fish we had collected up there had been snagged. It was quite easy to see, because you'd see the gash wounds in the fish," said Stefan Romberg, acting area director for DFO.

Snagging refers to the practice of catching fish by placing the hook anywhere other than the fish's mouth.

It's generally illegal, and members of the Amarok Hunters and Trappers Association voted in 2002 to ban the practice on the Sylivia Grinnell River. Wasting fish is also illegal.

Romberg said whoever left the piles of char behind was "high-grading."

"They don't want the small ones so they'll just toss them amongst the rocks until they get a larger fish that are more desirable," he said.

Romberg said DFO officers have stepped up monitoring near the river in hopes of preventing more wasted fish from appearing.

"They're going down and checking making sure that non-beneficiaries have sport fishing licenses and are fishing accordingly and just keeping an eye on things, basically," Romberg said. "If they do see things they'll hand out warnings or give them a ticket or a summons to court."

Romberg said fisheries officers will continue to investigate the incident. He also pleaded with people who catch fish to use them, even give them away if need be.

"Just don't leave them lying there wasting away."

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