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Accidental Net Damage

As we move into larger fishery seasons and therefore more nets in the water is the greater likelihood of damage. Each year in Zone 6, fishers report watercraft like barges, sternwheelers, large commercial passenger liners, and small recreational or sport boats accidentally running over the nets. This can tear holes in the nets, pull them free from their anchors, or get tangled into propellers and carried away by the watercraft. The net damage ranges from minor and repairable to a total loss.

CRITFE officers respond to and take reports of the damaged gear incidents, but apprehending suspects is difficult or impossible without specific details from witnesses. CRITFE officers are there to help but with little or no eyewitness information, they have a difficult time taking the appropriate law enforcement action. In turn, fishers do not get the information they need to pursue restitution in a civil case and may not be compensated for the damaged gear. In both cases, the fisher is the one who ultimately loses.

CRITFE officers would like to help resolve these issues more efficiently, but to do so they need eyewitnesses with as much information as possible (see below). Armed with this information, CRITFE officers have a much greater chance to resolve criminal complaints and help fishers pursue those responsible for compensation.

If you witness an incident

If you witness an accident or incident, the more information you can provide, the more likely the perpetrator will be brought to justice. Now that most people have cell phone cameras they carry around in their pocket, one of the easiest and most effective pieces of information that witnesses can provide is photos of the watercraft. Other information to pass on to CRITFE includes:

  • Where and when the incident occurred
  • Victim’s name, contact information and type of gear damaged
  • Names of any other witnesses
  • Suspects, boat numbers, a description of the driver, how many people were involved, what direction they traveled after the incident
  • Any other information they might think relevant

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