Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Suspected salmon-nappers netted in North Vancouver hatchery heist

Three people were arrested Wednesday after 30 coho were stolen from North Vancouver’s Capilano fish hatchery, stacked high in a children’s plastic wagon and left to die.
RCMP officers responding to an alarm at the hatchery at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday found the dead fish by the front gate along with a large fishing net.

They found that thieves had broken into the hatchery, opened a pen holding adult coho salmon and snatched 30 of the fish, weighing one to three kilograms each.

“Apparently their wagon couldn’t hold any more,” said spokesman Cpl. Richard De Jong. “I think it was the alarm that scared them away.”

Police fanned out with dog units and soon arrested two men and a woman walking southbound down Capilano Road.

A man and woman from Vancouver and a man from the Vancouver Island community of Chemainus were released pending approval of charges.

De Jong said the three could face charges of break and enter, mischief and, under the Wildlife Act, endangering wildlife and theft of fish from a hatchery.

Hatchery staff now have the dead coho, but De Jong said he didn’t know what would happen to the fish.
Staff are monitoring whether any other fish in the closed environment were harmed during the break-in, De Jong said.

“Any disruption to the ponds can have a greater impact on other fish,” he said.

The hatchery is located between the Capilano Suspension Bridge and the Cleveland Dam. During various parts of the year, it is home to coho, chinook and steelhead.

Mounties are asking anyone with information on the incident to phone them at 604-985-1311.

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